July 26, 2019 / Volume 7, Issue 6
The Water Resource Research Center - a research unit of the  College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and an Extension unit in  UA Cooperative Extension  within the Division of Agriculture, Life & Veterinary Sciences & Cooperative Extension
New USDA-Funded Arizona Project WET/WRRC Collaboration Starts With Intensive Training in
UA Microbiology Lab

During the week of July 22, the water quality laboratory of WRRC Research Scientist Jean McLain hosted the kickoff of a new USDA-funded project, "Bringing Microbiology and Water Quality into Arizona Classrooms: Workforce Development through Teacher Training". A very intensive week of classroom and laboratory training immersed participants in cultural and molecular analysis of samples, laboratory biosafety, and scientific techniques. The trainees worked to discover the source of a "mock foodborne outbreak." Samples of fresh produce, soils, water, and swabs from workers gloves and packing boxes were assayed to identify the one sample that had been spiked with E. coli bacteria. The first year of this project is spent training the trainers - all Arizona Project WET employees - who will in turn train high school teachers in the summer of 2020 using methods that the teachers will be able to bring into their Arizona classrooms. The USDA grant funding this work is led by APW Director Kerry Schwartz and Jean McLain.

Arizona Water Law Conference

Date / Time: August 1-2, at 8:00 a.m - 5:30 p.m.
Location: Hilton Scottsdale Resort & Villas

The Arizona Water Law Conference will give you the facts, opinions, and in-depth analysis you need to stay on top of important water issues, including the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, Assured Water Supply, developments in federal water quality laws, effluent reuse, and more.

santacruz McLain Laboratory is Awarded Funds to Explore Border Health     
WRRC Research Scientist Jean McLain is leading a one-year collaborative project, "Assessing Public Health Risk from Sewage Spills Along the Mexico-Arizona Border", that will focus on impacts of cross-border sewage overflows on Arizona environmental and public health. With co-collaborators Kerry Cooper (Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences) and Kate Ellingson (School of Public Health), samples will be collected in areas impacted by recent sewage overflows from Mexico; samples will be analyzed for antibiotic resistance to assess the possibility that multiple overflows have increased resistance in soil and water on the U.S. side of the border. This work is funded through a University of Arizona Research Advancement Grant, which is supported by the Technology and Research Initiative Fund via two of its initiatives: Improving Health and Water, Environmental, and Energy Solutions.  
The Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) has convened a Management Plans Work Group to discuss completion of the Fourth Management Plans and preparation for the Fifth Management Plans. The 1980 Groundwater Management Act mandated ADWR produce a groundwater management plan for each Active Management Area (AMA) every 10 years. The plans contain mandatory conservation targets and strategies for achieving them. They are developed through consultations with stakeholders and are intended to move groundwater use toward the AMAs' individually defined goals by the year 2025. Development of the Fourth Management Plans is significantly behind schedule because ADWR lacked the necessary staff. Only the Prescott and Tucson AMAs have adopted their 4th Management Plans. The new working group will "work to assess existing conservation programs and to develop new management strategies for the 5th management period and beyond." The July 9 kickoff meeting for the new working group was open to the public, and materials from that meeting are available online. Future meetings are tentatively scheduled for August 20 and October 3. Meanwhile, sub-groups will be meeting more frequently on specific topics.
APW2Sonora Rising: A Story of Water, Bread, and Life in the Tucson Desert
American Rivers has produced a beautiful video capturing our region's growing connections between water, agriculture, and food production. The video shares the thoughts of two good friends of the WRRC, Brian Wong of BKW Farms and Tim Thomure, director of Tucson Water, along with local baker Don Guerra of Barrio Bread. Many of us in the water community are aware of Tucson Water's efforts to manage water supplies and ensure a sustainable water future, but you may be less familiar with BKW Farms's focus on growing a variety of low-water and heat tolerant organic heritage wheat on their farm in the Marana area. BKW first grew the White Sonoran Wheat in 2013 and it continues to be one of their most popular grains. How these stories intermingle with Barrio Bread's efforts to bake 1,000 loaves per day of artisanal bread using local and indigenous wheat varieties is captured in the eleven-minute video. Congratulations to all the contributors to this lovely video.
Photo Source: Mark Thiessen
National Geographic
swesChemicals from Plastic Bottles May Leach into Bottled Water in Summer Heat    
It's important to stay hydrated in the dry heat of Arizona, particularly during this time of year. But results from scientific studies highlighted in a recent National Geographic article suggest that plastic water bottles may not be the best option to quench your thirst. Most plastic items release tiny amounts of chemicals into food or beverages that are too minuscule to be hazardous to health according to the Food and Drug Administration. However, studies have shown that antimony, which is used to manufacture PET (polyethylene terephthalate) bottles and can be toxic in high doses, can leach into water bottles at quicker rates during high temperatures. Though it's unlikely that drinking water from one PET bottle will be damaging, the cumulative effect of using plastics in the things we buy may have a larger health impact.  
newBook on Southwestern Water Written by WRRC Alum   
A story we missed in 2016 was the publication of a book on western water by a WRRC alumna. Melissa Lamberton Sevigny was a student worker at the WRRC beginning in 2007 and joined the staff for 6 months in 2010 before moving on to graduate school. Her book, Mythical River: Chasing the Mirage of New Water in the American Southwest, begins with the history of a mythical river: The Buenaventura, which was imagined to flow across the Great Basin from east to west. Sevigny first heard of the Buenaventura when she was asked to write an article on it for the WRRC's newsletter, Arizona Water Resource, and it formed the seed for this engaging, well-researched, and thought-provoking work. Using the mythical river as a metaphor, it examines recent efforts to expand water supply by pushing against the limits of reality.