• Arizona Water Resource Vol. 22 No. 1 (Winter 2014)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Radonic, Lucero; Cusimano, Jeremy; Megdal, Sharon; McLain, Jean E.; Silvertooth, Jeffrey C. (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2014)
      In January 2014, Arizona will begin its first farmland fallowing and forbearance project. Unlike similar fallowing programs in the West, this project does not transfer the water conserved in the agricultural sector to the municipal sector. For the time being, this program seeks to conserve water in the Colorado River system. The saved water will be maintained in Lake Mead, increasing its dwindling levels and helping forestall shortages to water users in the Lower Colorado River Basin. Since 2000, water levels in Lake Mead have fallen by an alarming 100 feet. If the lake’s elevation falls by another 30 feet, users in the lower basin would face reductions in water allocations.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 21 No. 4 (Fall 2013)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Radonic, Lucero; Banister, Katie; Xiu, Brittany; Rupprecht, Candice; Eden, Susanna; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2013)
      In the City of Prescott, the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve, along Granite Creek, is an oasis for wildlife and humans surrounded by development. The city’s wastewater treatment plant and transfer station are located a block to the east, a lumber company and a concrete block manufacturer are located to the south, Highway 89 and some dense subdivisions are to the west. Over the last century, this riparian area has been a sand and gravel mine, a dumpsite, a 4-wheel playground, and a shooting range. In 1995, the City of Prescott established the Watson Woods Riparian Preserve and transferred its management to Prescott Creeks, a grassroots organization working to improve the health of the local Granite Creek Watershed. With the labor of community volunteers, Prescott Creeks realigned four sections of the degraded creek channel giving them a more natural course and revegetated the floodplain to restore riparian habitat and improve water quality. In an area where non-point source pollution is a serious water quality issue, these changes help slow stormwater runoff and filter E-coli bacteria and other contaminants.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 21 No. 2 (Spring 2013)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Eden, Susanna; Mitchell, Katharine; Pepper, Ian L.; Witte, Becky; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2013)
      The opportunity to hear expert presentations and discussion on the issue of water security attracted approximately 300 people to the WRRC’s annual conference, “Water Security from the Ground Up”. The audience represented more than 40 communities across Arizona.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 21 No. 1 (Winter 2013)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Witte, Becky; Mitchell, Katharine; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2013)
      In November 2012, five people were elected for the Central Arizona Water Conservation District. The CAWCD and its board members may not be well known to the general public, but they play an important role in Arizona water policy. The CAWCD manages, operates, and directs policy for the Central Arizona Project (CAP), the supplier of approximately 1.5 million acre-feet of water for Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties. This water is critical for the people of Central Arizona
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 21 No. 3 (Summer 2013)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Radonic, Lucero; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2013)
      On Saturday, June 1, 2013, water was released from Elephant Butte Reservoir in South Central New Mexico into the Rio Grande. It took more than two days to travel the 80 miles to fields near Las Cruces, as water soaked into the parched riverbed. Waiting for the flow were chile, pecan, cotton and alfalfa growers in Southern New Mexico, Western Texas and Mexico, as well as the city of El Paso, Texas, which depends on the Rio Grande for half its water supply.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 20 No. 4 (Fall 2012)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Eden, Susanna; McEvoy, Jamie; Mclain, Jean; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012)
      Fungicide in orange juice, Arsenic in apple juice, Listeria in cantaloupe--these are the latest “food safety issues you care about” listed at foodandwaterwatch.org. But how important are these issues? The public can see Food and Drug Administration reports on all three by going to the FDA website. An outbreak of Listeria associated with contaminated cantaloupe caused 30 deaths in 2011, and concern continued in 2012 with an additional death and recalls of potentially contaminated fruit. Washing the fruit before cutting it might have lowered the death toll. Responsibility for food safety lies with the consumer, who should be informed about the real risks of foodborne illness. But it also extends to a wide range of parties including farmers, producers, processors, and establishments that serve food. All of these people need reliable, science-based information to ensure the safety of our food supply.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 20 No. 2 (Spring 2012)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Nadeau, Joanna B.; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012)
      When the captain announced the plane’s descent, I put my book down and peered out the window as I always do. I saw sand dunes first, leading my eye to a small mountain range flanked by dirt roads and farm fields. The mountains framed successive basins, each with the same dry ground spotted with desert shrubs. After the next range, a city emerged. Densely packed buildings appeared beside finished roads. And the canals ran from the farm fields into the city, running full next to dry riverbeds. It looked a lot like Tucson. But I was in Torreon, Mexico.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 20 No. 1 (Winter 2012)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Przybylowicz, Stephan; Isaak, Marissa T; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012)
      Global Water Brigades (GWB) is a program under Global Brigades, the largest student-led, non-profit, sustainable development organization in the world. Global Brigades works on a holistic model with disciplines in water, public health, medical, dental, architecture, environmental, law, business, and micro-finance. Students across the U.S., and around the world, start chapters at their universities to mobilize students in projects that empower rural areas in Honduras, Panama, and Ghana to improve their conditions. Water Brigades specifically develops clean water solutions for rural Honduras and Ghana. Throughout the school year, GWB discuss and assess the community. Then, over spring break, the group goes to actually build the water system. GWB work alongside community members and make a one day educational presentation to the local school about the importance of clean water. The UA chapter began in September 2010. Last year, UA only had water and medical disciplines as Global Brigades chapters on campus. Now there are two medical groups, dental, public health and business; and a law brigade is starting.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 20 No. 3 (Summer 2012)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Prietto, Jacob; Schwartz, Kerry; Thomas-Hilburn, Holly; Rupprecht, Candice; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2012)
      In recent years, U.S. employers have been reaching out internationally in order to fill job vacancies in highly skilled science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. This situation has led to calls for better STEM education in the United States. Innovative educational initiatives have emerged to answer the call for more professional competence in these STEM areas. In his 2012 State of the Union address to Congress, President Barrack Obama again emphasized the need to interest and educate young people to become the scientists, engineers and mathematicians of the future. “Growing industries in science and technology have twice as many openings as we have workers who can do the job.” The challenge, he said, is providing the right educational environment for teachers and students to excel.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 19 No. 2 (Spring 2011)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Przybylowicz, Stephan Elizander; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2011)
      Water draws people together because water is life. However, when many people, animals, and industries are competing over limited water, things can get tense. Transboundary aquifers are sources of groundwater that defy our political boundaries and often lead to intense conversation about what should be done in order to give everyone a fair share.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 19 No. 4 (Fall 2011)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Przybylowicz, Stephan; Riggs, Alanna; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2011)
      “It’s a promise to be a good citizen of the world, protecting the Earth’s natural resources through innovation and more efficient use of land, energy, water and packaging in our operations.” – PepsiCo, on their environmental sustainability promise Environmentalists and corporations have not always seen eye-to-eye on matters of how our natural resources should best be used. In fact, many people see corporate industry as inherently anti-environmental. However, without industry, we would not be able to enjoy many of the comforts of modern day living. Corporations have many responsibilities including: to gain profit for their investors, to keep costs low for their consumers, to use natural resources efficiently, and to maintain decent pay and working conditions for their employees. So, how should corporations balance these differing needs with protection of the natural environment? Many corporations now have developed multiple ways of creating this balance. These include water stewardship plans, partnerships between corporations and environmental groups that help both parties agree on a water management strategy, implementation of environmental best practices, and new ideas for the future of water accountability and transparency.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol.19 No. 3 (Summer 2011)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; McCloskey, Jennifer; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2011)
      From May 2010 to March 2011, Reclamation conducted a pilot run of the Yuma Desalting Plant (YDP) and demonstrated its potential to augment lower Colorado River supplies. Over 30,000 acre-feet of irrigation return flow was recycled preserving a like amount of Colorado River water in Lake Mead, approximately the amount of water used by 116,000 people in a year.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 19 No. 1 (Winter 2011)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Przybylowicz, Stephan Elizander; Graf, Chuck; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2011)
      The field of hydrophilanthropy has been around for decades, although the term is fairly new. Hydrophilanthropy means different things to different people, depending on which end of the deal they are on. David Kreamer (who coined the term) promotes "a flexible, open minded approach to the description of hydrophilanthropy and its attributes, a definition that includes many diverse activities and practitioners who advance the sustainability of clean water in the world."
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 18 No. 3 (Summer 2010)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Gelt, Joe; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2010)
      Novelist John Updike is taking a dim view of leadership when he asks in his novel, Rabbit is Rich, “How can you respect the world when you see it’s being run by a bunch of kids turned old?” The Water Resources Research Center conference was organized with a far loftier idea of leadership, at least in the water and environmental field. Titled “Creating New Leadership for Arizona’s Water and Environment in a Time of Change,” the conference was premised on the belief that present and up-and-coming leaders share a commitment to ensure future wise management of the state’s water and environment. With due respect to Updike, the conference recognized that many graduating students, the bunch of kids who will be turning older, will be the emerging leaders in the water and the environmental field. This, however, is seen as a cause of optimism; the conference recognized their talents and offered an opportunity to advance their interests. A program lineup of seasoned professionals in the water and environmental field and promising rookies was part of the game plan for addressing conference issues. The conference raised some critical questions: What kinds of leaders are needed to navigate a future marked by change and uncertainty? What is the best way to foster these leaders? The meeting served as a forum for participants, both established professionals and emerging leaders, those who have long labored in the field and those getting started, to work together to answer the very challenging questions. This special edition of the Arizona Water Resource newsletter provides conference coverage, identifying major issues and noting some of the recommendations and findings from the different sessions. What is included is necessarily selective. Hopefully, however, the featured highlights will show that the conference was a vigorous and engaging event. Additional conference information is available at the WRRC web site: cals.arizona.edu/azwater.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 18 No. 2 (Spring 2010)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Gelt, Joe; Lamberton, Melissa L.; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2010)
      The water resource field is among those areas expected to benefit from nanotechnology, its application holding special promise for treatment and remediation; sensing and detection; and pollution prevention. That cuts a rather wide swath in the water resources field. The nanorevolution or movement is being met with both optimism and caution as scientists ponder how best to take advantage of its benefits and at the same time understand and reckon with its possible risks.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 18 No. 1 (Winter 2010)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center. (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2010)
      Agriculture faces a conundrum: populations needing food are increasing and the necessary land and water resources to produce crops are not. What to do? The perplexing situation was addressed recently in an article in the November Scientific American, titled, “Growing Skyscrapers: The Rise of Vertical Farms.” Author Dickson Despommier says an insufficient supply of arable land is available to feed a projected 9.5 million population by 2050. Agricultural practices causing environmental harm contribute to the problem. His solution is to grow food indoors in glass high-rises; he figures that a 30-story structure located on one square block could be as agriculturally productive as 2,400 outdoor acres, with less spoilage. Crops could be grown year-round on these vertical farms under rigorously controlled conditions. He is proposing an agricultural revolution with an urban twist: high-rise vertical farms would be located in urban areas on now vacant lots and multi-story greenhouses constructed on rooftops. Food would be grown using non-mechanized farming techniques and relying on recycled urban wastewater in areas with the greatest demand, thus reducing transportation costs. This means less fossil fuels consumed and less emissions. Urban life would become more sustainable. Techniques for growing crops in-doors — drip irrigation, aeroponics and hydroponics— have been successfully applied throughout the world. Despommier singles out for special notice the 318-acre Eurofresh Farms located in Arizona that produces bountiful and varied crops 12 months a year. He mentions the Southwest with its abundant sunshine as being especially hospitable to vertical farming. He would modify his structures in the region to two or three stories, 50 to 100 yards wide and miles long to maximize natural sunlight for growing and photovoltaics for power. Despommier also describes the paths best not to take. He says that intensive, highly mechanized industrial farming capable of producing a greater yield of genetically-modified crops fertilized by agrochemicals is not the answer. Nor is the further deforestation of land to produce farmland. Both have severe environmental consequences. Despommier summarizes: “Vertical farming could revolutionize how we feed ourselves and the rising population to come.” For another, more here-and-now perspective of Arizona agriculture and its future water needs see above sidebar. It notes a recent CAST issue paper (Council for Agricultural Science and Technology) titled “Water, People, and the Future: Water Availability for Agriculture in the United States.”
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 1 No. 1 (Spring 2009)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center.; Gelt, Joe; Megdal, Sharon (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2009)
      Arizona has another Wild and Scenic River; Fossil Creek with it’s the travertine geological formations and crystal clear waters now shares the same protected designation as a segment of the middle Verde River, the state’s only other Wild and Scenic River. Approving Fossil Creek’s special designation was a detail in a massive piece of legislation, the Omnibus Public Land Management Act, a package of over 160 bills, that set aside more than 2 million acres of newly protected wilderness in nine states. More than 3.3 million acres of public lands in Arizona gained permanent protection. President Obama signed the law on March 30. Fossil Creek is an Arizona success story, an environmental rags-to-riches tale. Dammed early last century for power generation, Fossil Creek’s once quick-running water was a mere a trickle until the turn of this century. In 1999, Arizona Public Service shut down the power plants, and restoration efforts commenced. The dam was lowered and diversions ceased in June 2005, restoring full flows to the creek. This is the first Arizona watercourse to have a major water retention structure retired. In its heyday Fossil Creek was considered the fourth largest travertine system in the world. Fed by underground streams, it ran year-round almost 17 miles to the Verde River, its waters rich with calcium carbonate from the limestone aquifer below. Fossil Creek was one of 86 newly established Wild and Scenic Rivers with others located in California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Oregon, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming. Efforts are underway to gain support for a Wild and Scenic listing of another Arizona River, the Blue River, a tributary to the San Francisco River. Rivers or segment of rivers are designated Wild and Scenic to protect special qualities including scenic, recreational, geologic, and fish and wildlife; they are not to be dammed or otherwise impeded to protect their free-flowing condition. The recently passed law also provides other water-related provisions benefitting the state. Funding was authorized to support the federal government’s role in a comprehensive effort to preserve wildlife habitat along the lower Colorado River. The bill also authorized the Secretary of the Interior to consider ways to supplement water supplies in the Sierra Vista Subwatershed to benefit Fort Huachuca and the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 17 No. 4 (Fall 2009)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center. (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2009)
      A community program that included keynote addresses rounded out the day's events on Sept. 1. University of Arizona's President Robert Shelton greeted about 225 people attending the community event. Ben Grumbles, director of the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, further extended the welcome. The keynote speakers were Uri Shani, director general of the Israeli Water Authority, and Shaddad Attili, chairman of the Palestinian Water Authority. Attili, who was unable to attend the event in person, provided his message via DVD. Ayman Jarrar, director general for the regulatory and water control directorates of the Palestinian Water Authority, joined Shani at the podium to answer questions. Shani described Israel's predicament confronting the dire consequences of ongoing drought affecting the Middle East. “The trend is very clear, and we need to understand it. If we don't work on the future development of water, we don't solve anything. Demand is increasing, and the supply is decreasing, and we are left with no solution,” he said. With brackish water threatening groundwater reserves, Shani said the importance of desalination as a water source has increased. Conservation measures, a national priority, have decreased Israeli water consumption. Agricultural allocations are half what they were nine years ago. Contributing to the conservation savings is the relatively minimal water lost to evaporation and leakage, about 10 percent in Israel compared to much higher rates in other areas of the developed world. The use of reclaimed water has also increased dramatically. Attili discussed the precarious state of Palestinian water supplies. He said that water is a daily problem in the Palestinian Territories, with many communities lacking basic infrastructure for delivery of clean water and for water treatment. “We are trying to create a vibrant Palestinian state; our state will not be vibrant if there is not enough water.” He stressed the need for Israel to increase water allocations. Going beyond an acknowledgment of the political work to be done, Attili spoke of water supplies as a humanitarian cause. He said, “In the end of the day, it is a basic human need.” Jarrar sounded a pessimistic note with regard to an immediate solution to Palestinian water problems. He said what is needed is “political will from both sides, which is unfortunately not available at this time.” He said, “We are suffering, and the time should come to end our suffering with regard to the water supply.” He expressed confidence in Uri Shani's willingness to work with the Palestinian Water Authority, but also made clear that final decisions on critical water issues were often politicized and made at a higher level of government than the water authorities. The keynote session ended on a hopeful and conciliatory note. Despite the obstacles, Jarrar expressed optimism that trust can be built between the two sides, leading to adequate water supplies for both Israelis and Palestinians and contributing to peace in the region. Shaddad Attili also expressed confidence that he and the Palestinian Water Authority can work with Uri Shani and the Israeli Water Authority to resolve conflict in the area of water. Shani found significance in the fact that part of the conflict is about water. He said, "The general method to extinguish fire is to use water. I believe water can lead to peace, and this is my hope. Nobody promised us to have easy solutions, but it can be done.” The AzIP workshop was organized to help both Israelis and Palestinians achieve the goal of resolving conflict over water and working together to find shared solutions.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 17 No. 2 (November-December 2008)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center. (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2008-11)
      It is no doubt a sign of the drought-struck times that efforts to strictly account for lower Colorado River water use are now focusing on individual landowners and homeowners who have drilled wells and pump water along the lower Colorado River. Up to now, efforts to regulate Colorado River water use have mainly been directed at the big water users: states, Indian nations and irrigation districts. Collectively these small-scale water users, most of whom are householders taking care of domestic water needs, consume a significant amount of Colorado River water, an amount estimated at between 9,000 and 15,000 acre feet.
    • Arizona Water Resource Vol. 17 No. 1 (September-October 2008)

      University of Arizona. Water Resources Research Center. (Water Resources Research Center, College of Agriculture, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ), 2008-09)
      With desalination looming big on the water resource horizon, many water officials are looking at their options. One option Arizona officials are considering is building a desalination plant in Puerto Penasco that would be a joint Mexican-Arizona project, with both the resort community and the state benefiting from the desalinated water supplies. With desalination an emerging technology, other kinds of options will be available in the future. One such option is seawater desalination vessels, ships capable of onboard desalination for onshore use.