June 26, 2020 / Volume 8, Issue 1
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
WRRC Office Update

Although the WRRC building will be closed to the public until further notice, our staff continue to work and engage as much as possible. You can reach us via email as listed on our Directory. We wish you all the best - Stay safe and healthy!

UArizona Cooperative Extension COVID-19 info page   
WRRC COVID-19 Articles
In this issue: Water Blueprint  /  Navajo Nation / APW / Megdal Webinar / WOTUS
WRRC Virtual Conference is a Success!
The WRRC 2020 "virtual" Conference, Water at the Crossroads: The Next 40 Years , is a wrap! With over 450 people attending, we had registrants from 51 Arizona communities 10 states, and 5 other countries. While we missed seeing everyone in person, the virtual platform expanded our reach and made the conference more accessible to students and those at a distance. Conversations among panelists had a personal familiarity that is hard to achieve in a full conference hall. On-line polling allowed us to aggregate audience responses to questions such as: What are our primary sustainable water challenges? and How do you intend to help improve water resource management? At the close of the first day, we held three different Zoom happy hours, each with 20 to 40 attendees, which were filled with lively conversation and comradery. Although occasional technical issues did crop up, such as a few upside-down video feeds, we were very pleased that all the speakers and moderators were all able to join and very few of our attendees had issues. One disappointment was the poor video feed for our sponsor presentation, so we hope you will visit the link below to see their beautiful and informative contributions. We could not have done this without our sponsors. Over the next couple of weeks, we will post keynote and panel presentations and discussions as well as polling results.  We are very grateful to all our moderators, panelists, sponsors, and attendees for traveling with us as we navigated from on-site to on-line.  We hope that all considered their virtual conference experience both enjoyable and thought-provoking.
See the Sponsor Video Here
Sponsor PPT Slides

blueprintNew Visual Data Tools Available

Several visually rich information tools are now available for answering your various water-related questions. The Kyl Center for Water Policy at ASU has just released its Water Blueprint, the result of a multi-year effort to create a comprehensive water data hub accessible to the public. A single portal offers admittance to data bases from many sources, including Arizona state agencies, federal agencies, water providers, cities, counties, and a multitude of others. The Water Blueprint offers easy access to data previously difficult or impossible for the general public to see and interpret. Also in June, the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy within the Lincoln Land Institute has released its Colorado River Basin StoryMap, a visual exploration of the history, hydrology, ecology, use, and future of the entire basin. With the Colorado River Basin GIS Open Data Portal, which is linked through the StoryMap, the Babbitt Center created an Esri ArcHub containing the data, maps, and related reports used in this online resource.  Finally, WRRC Research Analyst Ashley Hullinger released a visual introduction to water in the Pinal  Active Management Area  (AMA). This largely agricultural region between two expanding metropolitan areas faces a complex water situation. Because agricultural water users expect to lose a substantial proportion of their renewable Colorado River water, interest is strong in planning for a sustainable future. Getting Down to Facts: A Visual Guide to Water in the Pinal Active Management Area  presents fundamental information about the who, how, and how much of water in the AMA.

indige-fewssWater on Navajo Nation: Indige-FEWSS wins Presenters' Choice Award

By Torran Anderson 

The STEM for All Video Showcase featured 171 videos of federally funded programs highlighting innovation in STEM education. The University of Arizona's Indigenous Food, Energy & Water Security and Sovereignty (Indige-FEWSS) program  won the first ranked Presenters' Choice Award. Indige-FEWSS is an NSF National Research Traineeship program that aims to develop a diverse workforce with intercultural awareness and expertise in sustainable food, energy, and water systems. The winning video was narrated by Dr. Karletta Chief, Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in Environmental Science, and PhD candidate Nikki Tully, who explained the program's community approach to learning from and working with members of the Navajo Nation.
Watch the Video
 "Thank you, again, for another excellent workshop! Well done, useful, and relevant!" wrote one of 19 teachers who completed a combination of 30 hours of live, online and self-directed instruction during our first virtual Water Solutions: Past, Present, & Future STEM Academy. 

It was a 5-day exploration of the SRP system to answer the overarching question:  If you were SRP, how could you use your 100 years of experience to manage water for our growing desert city's next 100 years? The week was filled with discussions, thinking, and learning about the management of the Salt and Verde Watersheds, the groundwater system as a backup system for times of drought, healthy forests and their connection to natural fires and runoff, dendrochronology and its use in climate and drought forecasting snowpack's critical linkage to water storage in our reservoirs, and water quality monitoring to assist city water treatment facilities.  On the last day the teachers  built a model of the SRP system and studied the careers necessary to manage the parts of the system.  To chronicle their learning, they used Adobe Spark to make a video documentary which they plan to share with their students this coming school year.  All the teachers created compelling videos. 

megdal-webinarMegdal Shares Thoughts on Networking and to Speak about Wicked Water Problems
On Wednesday, July 15th  at 10:00 am Arizona time (1:00 pm EDT), the American Water Resources Association will present a webinar by WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal titled, Developing Pathways to Solutions to Wicked Water Problems. To commemorate Megdal's receipt of the Universities Council on Water Resources' Warren A. Hall Medal, UCOWR will co-sponsor this webinar. As a medal recipient, Dr. Megdal would have given a plenary address at UCOWR's canceled June 2020 annual conference. Instead, she was recently interviewed by UCOWR on the topics of networking, professional development, and her upcoming webinar. In the interview, she shares her thoughts about developing and maintaining professional networks as well as advice for students and new professionals. Because the University of Arizona and Arizona State University are UCOWR members, webinar registration is free for faculty, researchers, staff, and students at those and other member institutions. 
Webinar: register here
(UArizona or ASU email addresses are required to use code UCOWR20 to receive free registration)

Dr. Megdal's interview with UCOWR here
wotusNew Publication Analyzes the New WOTUS Rule and its Significance in the Arizona Context
The June 15, 2020 issue of The Water Report features an article co-authored by  several from the University of Arizona on the 2020 Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule and its implications for federal regulation of washes in Arizona. The article begins its analysis of the 2020 rule by comparing its regulatory provisions with those of the previous rule, published in 2015. Most notably, the 2020 rule narrows the jurisdictional scope of the Clean Water Act by excluding ephemeral washes and associated water features from its definition of WOTUS. The article notes that this change is particularly significant in Arizona, where 80% of the state's streams are ephemeral. The article then examines the regulatory implications of the 2020 rule in Arizona by applying both the 2015 and 2020 rules to two project case studies. After a detailed and thorough exploration of the shifting regulatory landscape, the article concludes with recommendations to the state of Arizona as it develops a regulatory response to the narrowed federal regulations under the 2020 rule. 

Read the article