WRRC Hosts Scientists from the Royal Scientific Society of Jordan for Gray Water Workshop
by Jean McLain, WRRC In early October, the WRRC hosted a 4-day workshop that grew from a project located in Jordan, on which WRRC Director Dr. Sharon Megdal serves as USA expert. Jordan is located in an arid to semiarid region and is one of the most water scarce countries in the world. The gray water system being developed with the input of Jordanian and U.S. scientists will contribute to a less expensive and more sustainable water supply in low income, rural agricultural areas of Jordan.
The Jordan project involves the design and installation of an innovative filtration system for household gray water use. Due to the success of the pilot gray water project, the International Arid Lands Consortium funded the assembly of a scientific team at the WRRC to prepare proposals to fund the next phases of the work in Jordan. The new work will characterize the physical, chemical, and biological parameters of the collected gray water and test local Jordanian materials for removal of a range of gray water contaminants. It will also increase public awareness in rural areas of that country of gray water treatment and reuse.
The workshop began with a half-day “Gray Water Information Exchange” between local water professionals, University of Arizona researchers, and Jordanian scientists. Workshop attendees learned of gray water use in the Tucson region from Val Little of the Water Conservation Alliance of Southern Arizona. Chuck Graf, from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, spoke about the regulation of gray water use in Arizona, and several University of Arizona researchers spoke on ongoing water quality research. Dr. Othman Almashaqbeh and Dr. Ayoup Ghrair (Royal Scientific Society of Jordan) described the first phase of the Jordanian gray water project and provided information on gray water treatment and use in the Jordan Valley.
Following the half-day information exchange, the proposal writing team worked intensively for the remainder of the workshop to define the research activities for the next phase of the project. Following each day of intensive writing, the team visited local water sustainability “success stories”, including the Sweetwater Wetlands and the UA Controlled Environment Agricultural Center.