Educational Insight on Important Water Issues
Articles, Reports and Other
January 24, 2019
Groundwater governance in the United States: A mosaic of approaches
Groundwater is an important water supply for meeting municipal, industrial, and agricultural water demands and for supporting riparian and other ecological systems in the United States (U.S.). Effective groundwater governance is therefore crucial to the wise use of this largely non-renewable resource (recharge rates are slower than extraction rates). While minimum, federally-established drinking-water quality and water-discharge regulations do exist, the framework of the laws and regulations governing groundwater use in this country is highly decentralized. Each state determines its own...
October 01, 2018
Decentralized Groundwater Governance and Water Nexus Implications in the United States
The interconnectivities of groundwater to food, energy, and the climate are addressed to various degrees at the state level. Groundwater governance in the United States is decentralized, resulting in considerable variations in state practices. This article, published in Jurimetrics and written by Sharon B. Megdal and Jacob Petersen-Perlman, reports on two state-level surveys and three regional case studies conducted to better understand groundwater governance strategies and practices. The article also relates the results of these research efforts to food, energy, and climate. The...
September 14, 2018
Findings and lessons learned from the assessment of the Mexico-United States transboundary San Pedro and Santa Cruz aquifers:
Groundwater, the "invisible water," is difficult to assess, manage and govern for many reasons, mostly due to the unknown quantities of the resource. Political boundaries dividing groundwater aquifers make assessment even more challenging. This article focuses on lessons learned from the hydrologic assessment of the Transboundary San Pedro and Santa Cruz aqufiers. The authors conducted the work in two phases: (1) laying the groundwork and (2) implementation. The "laying the groundwork" phase consisted of binational meetings with stakeholders and key actors (agencies and individuals), and the...
June 06, 2018
State-level Groundwater Governance and Management in the U.S.: Summary of Survey Results of Groundwater Quality Strategies and Practices
Groundwater governance and management practices vary considerably across the United States. To better understand groundwater governance strategies and practices connected to water quality in the United States, a team from the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center designed and launched a nationwide survey in 2016. The goal of the project was to identify on-the-ground practices of groundwater governance that may help to improve and enhance management of the nation’s water supplies, particularly within the realm of groundwater quality. A state water professional was recruited in...
June 05, 2018
Critical Issues Affecting Groundwater Quality Governance and Management in the United States
Groundwater is increasingly important for meeting water demand across the United States (U.S.). Forward thinking governance and effective management are necessary for its sustainable use. In the U.S., state governments are primarily responsible for groundwater governance (i.e., making laws, policies, and regulations) and management (i.e., implementation of laws, policies, and regulations). This decentralized system results in diverse strategies and practices. We surveyed a water quality professional from each state to better understand commonalities and differences across states. These...
May 14, 2018
Evaluating Gravity-Flow Irrigation with Lessons from Yuma, Arizona, USA
Many consider gravity-flow irrigation inefficient and deride its use. Yet, there are cases where gravity-flow irrigation can play an important role in highly productive and profitable agriculture. This perspective article reviews the literature on the profitability and efficiency of gravity systems. It then reviews the history of water management in Yuma, Arizona, which is one of the most productive agricultural areas in the United States. Through extensive changes in irrigation technologies, changes in production practices, and investments in irrigation infrastructure, Yuma agriculture...
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...
March 29, 2011
AzEWN Assessment and Methodology Guidebook Brochure
AzEWN Assessment and Methodology Guidebook Brochure: This document is a four-page color brochure highlighting the contents of the Arizona Environmental Water Needs Assessment Report and Methodology Guidebook. Protecting Arizona’s natural environment, water supply, and open spaces is a high priority for Arizona citizens. The Arizona Environmental Water Needs Assessment systematically assembled technical information about the environment’s water needs that can be used in water planning and policymaking statewide. AzEWNA documents and inventory data are intended to improve...
August 01, 2009
Arizona Well Owners' Guide to Water Supply
This booklet is intended for Arizona residents who depend on private wells for their water needs. Well owners who want to become familiar with Arizona's groundwater sources, water quality and water testing options, and well maintenance issues should read this booklet. Topics include: An overview of the state's water resources and how Arizona's major cities use these resources. A description of Arizona's geology and how location affects the quantity and quality of aquifer water resources in our state. Common contaminant found in Arizona's...