Educational Insight on Important Water Issues
Articles, Reports and Other
December 17, 2021
Arizona Water Factsheet: Maricopa County
The WRRC is pleased to share the first in a series of Arizona Water Factsheets. The Maricopa County Factsheet packages concise water information and builds on previous collaborative water education efforts with the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension. The Arizona Water Factsheets aim to answer common questions about water resources at the county level. Tailoring information for a local audience within the broader context of the state, these snapshot resources address basic water supply and demand, regionally relevant challenges, and sustainability issues for the future. Additional...
August 10, 2021
Science and Binational Cooperation: Bidirectionality in theTransboundary Aquifer Assessment Program in the Arizona-Sonora Border Region
Abstract:Sharing scientiﬁc data and information is often cited within academic literature as aninitial step of water cooperation, but the transfer of research ﬁndings into policy and practice is oftenslow and inconsistent. Certain attributes—including salience, credibility, and legitimacy of scientiﬁcinformation; iterative information production; and sociocultural factors—may inﬂuence how easilyscientiﬁc information can be used in management and policymaking. However, transnationalityusually complicates these sorts of interactions. Accordingly, we argue that the production of scien-tiﬁc...
May 01, 2021
A Review of Climate Change Impacts on the USA-Mexico Transboundary Santa Cruz River Basin
Abstract: In the parched Upper Santa Cruz River Basin (USCRB), a binational USA–Mexico basin, the water resources depend on rainfall-triggered infrequent flow events in ephemeral channels to recharge its storage-limited aquifers. In-situ data from the basin highlight a year-round warming trend since the 1980s and a concerning decline in average precipitation (streamflow) from 1955–2000 to 2001–2020 by 50% (87.6%) and 17% (63%) during the winter and summer, respectively. Binational sustainable management of the basins water resources requires a careful consideration of prospective climatic...
April 01, 2021
Choosing Large-scale Rain Harvesting for Potable Supply
As groundwater becomes harder to access in many areas of Arizona, risks and costs associated with groundwater wells have become an important economic consideration for property owners. Groundwater is considered a non-renewable water supply when aquifers do not recover enough from pumping to reliably produce water from the same level through time. Water may refill the aquifer very slowly, so slowly that the groundwater being pumped today may be thousands of years old. Once more water is pumped than is recharged, an aquifer is in overdraft, with multiple potential negative effects, including...
March 22, 2021
Looming Water Gap in the Colorado River Basin Leads Two Arizona Communities toward Integrated Land and Water Planning
Arguably, managing water separately from land was one of the great missteps of the 20th century. Turning our eyes to past practices, and recognizing the role watersheds play in the health of the environment and our communities, we see that land and water must be managed together as integrated social-natural systems. This issue of Water Resources IMPACT is a companion to the AWRA 2021 Virtual Summer Conference: Connecting Land & Water for Healthy Communities, convening in July 2021. As co-chair of the AWRA Integrated Water Resources Management Technical Committee, and in partnership with...
March 01, 2021
Preparing Rainwater for Potable Use
Rainwater harvesting can provide a realistic source of water for homeowners living in remote areas or those who for one reason or another prefer not to use their groundwater inside the house. Local groundwater may have problems common in many parts of Arizona: high mineral content, naturally occurring elements such as arsenic and fluoride, and contaminants from various sources, such as overflowing septic tanks, and agricultural, industrial or mining activities. Homeowners may have low-yield or seasonally dry wells and wish to avoid trucking in water. They may be unwilling or unable to drill...
October 22, 2021
Tackling Wicked Water Problems in the Transboundary Colorado River Basin
A 20-minute presentation, Tackling Wicked Water Problems in the Transboundary Colorado River Basin, is available for viewing on the WRRC website. This recorded keynote presentation was to be shown at a conference in Morocco on October 20, 2021. Announcement of postponement of the in-person conference arrived a few days after the recording was submitted. Due to the high interest in the low-flow conditions of the Colorado River locally, nationally, and internationally, WRRC Director Sharon Megdal is making the recorded presentation and slides freely available. A written supplement...
July 02, 2020
A Visual Guide to Water in the Pinal Active Management Area
The WRRC is pleased to share our newly released report Getting Down to Facts: A Visual Guide to Water in the Pinal Active Management Area, a collection of information on water use and management in the Pinal Active Management Area (AMA). In partnership with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, this report was created as a reference resource for interested residents, decision makers, and other stakeholders by summarizing existing data, through graphics and concise text. This report, with its 40 customized figures and tables, uses maps and data visualizations to explain the...
May 31, 2017
Desert Flows Methodology Guidebook
Successful implementation of environmental flow projects depends on land and water managers having clear objectives and access to reliable data. This guidebook provides information on a variety of methods that can be utilized under different fiscal or temporal constraints to determine and implement appropriate environmental flow targets. Based on evidence from cases focused in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, steps are suggested to help ensure maintenance of flows under uncertain future natural and socio-economic conditions. The importance of education and engagement to...
September 12, 2016
Desert Flows Assessment
In the past decade there has been increased interest in providing water to meet the needs of riparian and aquatic ecosystems in the western United States and policymakers are using their knowledge of environmental flow needs to advocate for both political and scientific changes. However, there are significant challenges associated with including environmental flows in water management and planning. First, water rights for environmental flows are not universal, and in many cases legal tools used to incorporate the environment into water management and planning only require new users to...
November 14, 2012
Arizona Environmental Water Needs Methodology Guidebook
Arizona Environmental Water Needs (AzEWN) Methodology Guidebook: Determining the best methods or quantifying environmental flow needs depends on what is to be studied as well as how the information will be used. This guidebook will provide a description of the methodologies used in Arizona to define the environment’s need for water. Depending on the geographic context, the time and effort available, and whether the goal is restoration or maintenance of an ecosystem, some methods will be more appropriate for a given application than others. The resulting flows prescribed by each method...
October 01, 2012
AZ Know Your Water
A consumer's guide to water sources in Arizona, quality regulations, and home water treatment options, funded through the TRIF Water Sustainability Program grants program has been reprinted due to popular demand and is now available. This convenient spiral bound volume covers water use and water sources in Arizona, minerals and contaminants in water, water quality regulations and standards, and home water treatment options. Each option is fully described, including operation and maintenance tips. Copies of the booklet are available at the University of Arizona, Water Resources Research...