Arroyo, Water Series, National Symposium, APW, Paul La Farga, Tucson Water
2021 Arroyo Published
On March 5, the WRRC released its 2021 Arroyo, “Arizona Groundwater Management – Past, Present and Future.” Taking its inspiration from the WRRC’s 2020 Annual Conference, “Water at the Crossroads: The Next 40 Years,” this Arroyo covers the history of the 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Act (GMA) and the mechanisms through which the act is making groundwater use in Arizona more sustainable. The passage of the 1980 GMA represented a major change in Arizona’s attitudes toward sustainable groundwater management. Today, groundwater use in most of the populous regions of Arizona is monitored and regulated to preserve a dependable water supply for generations to come, but significant challenges remain. The 2021 Arroyo provides background context and examines some of Arizona’s remaining and emerging water issues affecting groundwater management. Among these are meeting the needs of communities outside the GMA’s Active Management Areas and responding to likely Colorado River shortages without returning to groundwater overdraft. The Arroyo examines the role of Arizona’s Native Nations and the challenges to Arizona’s natural environment. It goes on to explore some innovative solutions that policymakers, managers, and stakeholders are developing to address these issues. A PDF of the new Arroyo can be downloaded free from the WRRC website. Print copies are available by special request. Join us on March 8 for a Brown Bag webinar highlighting key sections of the Arroyo. 
Brown Bag Webinar: Arizona's Groundwater Management: Past, Present and Future

Date: Monday, Mar 8, 2021
Time: 12:00-1:15 pm MST
Location: Webinar Only
Susanna Eden, PhD, Research Program Officer, Water Resources Research Center, UArizona

Brian McGreal, MS Student, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, UArizona

Arizona's landmark Groundwater Management Act turned 40 last year and the WRRC marked the occasion by focusing the 2020 annual conference on the legacy of the Act, current groundwater challenges, and potential future pathways. Building on this foundation, the authors of the 2021 Arroyo developed a comprehensive overview of groundwater management in Arizona that looks back over 40 years and ahead toward 2060 and beyond. The presentation will highlight key sections of the Arroyo as reference points for discussion.

Brown Bag Webinar: Community Service and Environmental Justice as an Essential Best Practice for Clean Water Utilities of the Future

Date: Thursday, Mar 11, 2021
Time: 12:00-1:15 pm MST
Location: Webinar Only
Andrew Kricun, Managing Director, Moonshot Missions and Senior Fellow, US Water Alliance

The old paradigm for clean water utilities was to see permit compliance as the ceiling of aspirations and to avoid community engagement to the maximal extent possible.  However, the new paradigm for the clean water utilities of the future is to see permit compliance as a floor and to strive to be environmental champions and anchor institutions in the communities they serve. This presentation will describe how the clean water utility located in Camden, NJ, one of the most economically distressed communities in the United States, traversed a learning curve from indifference to their community to work towards being an anchor institution. It will also discuss how this is something that can, and should, be done by any and every water utility in the nation.

Upcoming WRRC Webinars

Peter Colohan, Executive Director, Internet of Water Project, Duke University

Apr 8: Brown Bag Webinar - Binational Study of Water Desalination Opportunities in the Sea of Cortez
Chuck Cullom, Colorado River Programs Manager, Central Arizona Project
Lela Perkins, Senior Water Resources Engineer, Jacobs Engineering Group

Apr 14: Brown Bag Webinar - Update from Tucson Water on Reuse Projects
John Kmiec, Interim Director, Tucson Water

External Events

UArizona Webinar Series on Water Research and Solutions

Droughts, intense rainstorms, floods, debris flows, sea-level rise: all have the common element of water, and all are being exacerbated by climate change. A warmer world will bring increasing ecological, social, and economic challenges in which water plays a key role. What can we as a community do? The UArizona, with a long history of partnering its own experts in water-related research and policy with those from organizations throughout the region, is helping to build water-related resilience at multiple scales.

National Symposium to Feature Session on Navajo Nation Water Challenges 
On April 15-16, the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) and National Capital Region will host the symposium “Human Dimension to Resilient & Sustainable Water Management: Promoting Integrated Collaboration.” Experts from a variety of backgrounds will address topics such as circular economies, managing for the unknown (for example, the COVID-19 pandemic), sociohydrology, environmental justice, and innovations in water resource management. On April 15, the plenary session, “The Wicked Water Problems of the Navajo Nation and Efforts to Address Them,” will feature Dr. Crystal Tulley-Cordova, Principal Hydrologist at the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources, Nikki Tulley, UArizona PhD student, Bidtah Becker, Associate Attorney with the Navajo Tribal Utility Authority, and Dr. Karletta Chief, Associate Professor and Associate Extension Specialist at UArizona. WRRC Director Dr. Sharon B. Megdal will moderate the session. Fees for the two-day virtual program are $120 for non-members, $30 for AWRA student members, and $50 for non-member students.

Photo: Nikki Tulley (WRRC 2020 Photo Contest Winner)

Healthy Forests: Key to a Healthy Watershed

Healthy forests are a key component of watershed management and they are of paramount importance for Coconino County, where cities and towns are nestled into the forest. APW has a long-standing focus on teaching about watersheds and their management. With a new grant through the Department of Forestry and Fire Management's Community Challenge Grant Program, APW is excited to focus on the forest ecosystems part of the watershed. We will develop programs that engage people in relating forest health to their water supply, urban flooding, water quality, and fire regimes.

Through key partnerships and collaborations with institutions such as The Museum of Northern Arizona, we will integrate Indigenous perspectives on forest management and native ecosystems while inspiring to be stewards of our land. We will develop and offer educational events that teach about forest management, fire ecology, and the importance of native plants in our local watershed by collaborating with our Coconino County Cooperative Extension colleagues and The Arboretum of Flagstaff.

Students involved in these programs will become naturalists who explore the world through a scientific lens. Adults will become advocates for forest and watershed health.

WRRC Graduate Student Presents Poster

Each year, students come together to share research with their academic peers at the Graduate and Professional Student Council (GPSC) Student Showcase. The tough circumstances of the past academic year did not stop many students from sharing their poster presentations with each other—though this year the event was held virtually via VoiceThread instead of in a ballroom. WRRC Graduate Assistant & Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow Paul La Farga participated in the 2021 GPSC Student Showcase and the Coverdell Outreach & Research Poster Showcase, and shared research that he has done through collaboration with the WRRC. La Farga’s presentation, which investigates a variety of risks and impacts of fire on ecosystem services, will be integrated into a chapter of an upcoming ecosystem services report that the WRRC will complete later this Fall. To view the presentation and leave feedback click the link below.

Tucson Water Service Resilience

Water infrastructure has been in the news since a deep freeze in mid-February caused power failures to shut down water services across Texas. The WRRC asked Fernando Molina, the public information officer for Tucson Water, to comment on Tucson Water’s infrastructure resilience in response to the crisis in Texas. According to Molina, Tucson Water took action after an especially cold winter in 2011. The freezing weather had impacted many of Tucson Water’s facilities and elements of infrastructure, such as pipes, valves, and water meters. As a result, Tucson Water “began a process that included hardening those distribution system elements to include identifying sites at highest risk for freeze damage, and insulating, covering, in general protecting those susceptible elements from freezing temperatures.” Moreover, Tucson Water also developed new protocols, such as regular inspections and a standard response to cold weather prediction. Continuing drought conditions are another challenge facing Tucson's water resilience. On April 14, John Kmiec, Interim Director of Tucson Water, will join the WRRC for a Brown Bag webinar to provide an update on Tucson Water's water reuse programs. 

Please visit WRRC's website for a complete listing of water jobs & opportunities.