Monday, June 24th was a day to celebrate the sight and sound of water flowing down the Santa Cruz River on a hot and cloudless day.
World Water Day Reflections by WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal
World Water Day is a good day for reflection. Just a few days ago, on March 19, 2019, representatives of the seven states of the Colorado River Basin gathered in Phoenix, Arizona to sign a letter asking Congress to approve implementation of the drought contingency plans detailed in the documents attached to the letter. Immediately thereafter, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman announced termination of the Department of Interior's request for further input on how to reduce the water supply risks the Colorado River Basin is facing. The March 19th signing and announcement came less than two months after the Arizona Legislature and Governor approved historic actions requisite to Arizona's participation in the Lower Basin Drought Contingency Plan.
The consensus reached by the Colorado River Basin States is noteworthy, as are the efforts within Arizona to develop an implementation plan to share the burden of reduced water deliveries. Pending congressional action, we are entering a new phase of water management wherein we adapt to the reality of a hydrologically stressed, over-allocated river system. Getting to this point has been difficult, and the work is by no means over, even in the short run. There will be funding requests of the federal government related to the Salton Sea and Central Arizona agricultural pumping capacity. Additional documents to complete Arizona's implementation plan will be finalized and approved. Then the heavy lifting will begin on developing plans for the longer term. The drought contingency plans are an overlay to the interim shortage sharing guidelines approved in 2007. Those regulations are set to expire in 2026. Formal discussions on the successor regulations are set to begin by the end of 2020.
I teach a graduate class on water policy in the Spring semester, for which I give a short mid-term. Some test questions have no right or wrong answer. An example is "Explain why you are optimistic, pessimistic, or neither about resolving the water issues of the region." As I reflect on the status of water management, I wish to give my short response. I am optimistic that we will continue to work together to develop the policies and actions needed for residents in Arizona and the broader region to have access to reliable and safe water. The work will be difficult and will never end, at whatever the geographic scale. Water is Life. And water is scarce in the desert. We must all be responsible, informed water users and stewards. This is my simple but I think important message for World Water Day.
he summer monsoon season is upon us again! The sun is high in the sky, temperatures have climbed to their highest levels of the year and the cicadas are buzzing.
Few pairings provoke as passionate a response as the coupling of water and money; however, water is deeply rooted in our market economy. The newly published 2019 Arroyo, “Water, Business, and the Business of Water,” takes this truism as a jumping-off point for its survey of the ways in which water and business intersect.
The home page of the University of Arizona website on June 20, 2019, shows a striking video of our beautiful landscape and states “Tucson’s summers are like no other. Breathtaking landscapes. Powerful monsoons.
niversity of Arizona was well represented at the Universities Council on Water Resources (UCOWR) and The National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) annual conference held on June 11-13.
Managed aquifer recharge (MAR) is the intentional recharge (and storage) of water into an aquifer for future recovery or for environmental benefits. Mary Belle Cruz Ayala, a Ph.D. Student in Arid Lands Resource Sciences and a Graduate Research Assistant at the WRRC, recently presented her research on this topic at the 10th International Symposium on Managed Aquifer Recharge (ISMAR10) in Madrid, Spain. Her presentation, "Use of Managed Aquifer Recharge to Improve Water Management in Arid and Semi-Arid Regions of Mexico," presented results from the first paper from her Ph.D.