IN THIS ISSUE: Brown Bag Recap, Terry Fulp, US Plumbing Poverty, APW, UArizona Water Courses, SHARP
CAP Keeps Water Flowing and Employees
Safe During COVID-19
Last Friday, Ted Cooke, General Manager at the Central Arizona Project (CAP), presented “How Arizona’s Largest Water Utility Responded to the Coronavirus Pandemic,” a talk highlighting the measures CAP took to keep delivering water while ensuring the safety of its nearly 500 employees. After providing some background context, Cooke presented a timeline that detailed developments in the COVID-19 pandemic and CAP’s responses, connecting human and operational considerations. By mid-March as the spread of the virus became evident, CAP took early action by canceling or converting their meetings into virtual events. Administrative, technical, and professional staff were asked to work remotely to cut down employee numbers within CAP facilities. Field employees who had to perform essential work were required to socially distance and respect health guidelines. Since the onset of the pandemic, CAP has only experienced 14 cases of the infection. Cooke added that because of rapidly changing information from CDC and local health departments, CAP monitored sources of critical information daily to ensure employee safety. CAP employees may return to pre-COVID schedules by January 3, but this decision might change depending on the state infection rates in the upcoming weeks.

Brown Bag Webinar:
Balancing Water for People and Nature: The Upper San Pedro River

Date: Wednesday, December 2, 2020
Time: 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
Location: Webinar
Scott Deeny, Water Program Lead, Arizona Chapter of The Nature Conservancy
Holly Richter, Arizona Water Projects Director, The Nature Conservancy

Flowing from Mexico into Arizona, the San Pedro is one of the last large, undammed rivers in the Southwest that flows year-round in many of its reaches. Just north of the border, it winds its way for 43 miles through the San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area, which provides critical habitat for millions of migrating birds and a wide variety of other wildlife. These lush streamside forests and the wildlife they sustain in turn rely on the same limited water resources as local communities in the region, large copper mines, irrigated agriculture, and the US Army’s Fort Huachuca. This presentation will provide an overview of the science, projects, and policies collaboratively developed over the past 20 years in the region to meet the water needs of both the river and local communities.

Brown Bag Webinar:
Balancing Environmental, Municipal, and Agricultural Needs in the Edwards Aquifer: A Farmer's Perspective

Date: Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Time: 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
Location: Webinar
Adam Yablonski, President, Comanche Creek Farms

Adam Yablonski will provide a brief description of the Edwards Aquifer, including the demographics of the region, and give an overview of the political history that led to the permitting of water rights. The presentation will also cover a few of the special rules and considerations for agriculture in the region, programs that came out of a broad stakeholder process, and provide some thoughts on the future. 

Upcoming Webinars

Jan. 14, 2021 – Transferring Water in Arizona
Patrick J. Cunningham, Public Affairs Consultant and General Counsel, HighGround
Michael J. Pearce, Partner, Gammage & Burnham
Leader in Lower Colorado River Basin Management to Retire
Terry Fulp, director of the US Bureau of Reclamation’s Lower Colorado Basin Region, is retiring after a 31-year career managing water resources in the Colorado River Basin. In a recent interview with Gary Pitzer of Western Water, Fulp spoke to his legacy and the work yet to be done to meet future water management challenges in the basin. Fulp’s long career is marked by his expertise and leadership brokering key decisions that have shaped and stabilized management of the Colorado River. Notably, he played an important role in the 2007 Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Lower Basin Shortages and the Drought Contingency Plans brokered in 2019. When asked by Pitzer what accomplishment he is most proud of, Fulp pointed to the collaborative approach taken by Reclamation over the past 20 years. He went on to say “What really is the key to success are relationships. You can’t really work closely with folks and on very complex and contentious issues if you don’t know about each other and respect each other.” Looking forward, Fulp cautioned that the challenges water managers face will only become harder, but “the way to solve them is to communicate and collaborate.”

New Article Reports
on US Plumbing Poverty

In the United States, an estimated 471,000 households or 1.1 million individuals live without a piped water connection. UArizona alumna Katie Meehan (now at King’s College London) and colleagues at UArizona and ECONorthwest conducted a study of US plumbing poverty to find out who the plumbing poor are. Contrary to the generally held belief that most of them live in rural areas without developed water supply systems, a recent study found that 73 percent of them live in metropolitan areas close to water distribution networks. Published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) on November 2, 2020, the study found, in addition, that households led by a person of color, rented homes, and households in neighborhoods with high-income disparities were much more likely than others to have deficient plumbing.

Engagement Leads to
Action and Results
Natural curiosity is the foundation of science. As a child, who hasn’t asked “why is the sky blue” or wondered how flies can walk on the ceiling? When fostered, children’s natural state of wonder can lead to a deeper level of learning. Engaging students in structured inquiry helps develop strong scientific minds capable of challenging current perceptions and designing solutions for a better future.

UArizona Experts Proffer Spring Semester Courses on Water

UArizona is offering a number of water-related courses in the Spring 2021 semester. Two of them deal directly with Arizona and Colorado River policy. One course, to be taught by WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal, is “Water Policy in Arizona and Semi-arid Regions.” Presented live on-line Friday mornings, the course takes a multi-disciplinary perspective, with several lectures by guest speakers drawing on their experiences with real-world water issues. On Thursdays, law professor Robert Glennon is offering, “The Colorado River in American History,” which will examine the competition for Colorado River water rights through lectures and readings in law, environmental history, economics, and ecology, and draw lessons relevant to current water issues. It will also be presented on-line and includes virtual field trips, site visits, and a screening of the film China Town. Interested students can find other water-related courses through specific departments and at Arizona Environment. Non-students may be interested in a course on climate change offered through the UArizona Humanities Seminar Program and taught by three of the university’s most knowledgeable climate scientists.  

Recreation, Reuse, and Recharge – SHARP Facility to Open to the Public

The Tucson Water Southeast Houghton Area Recharge Project (SHARP) facility will open to the public for recreational activities on December 1, 2020. SHARP is the newest addition to Tucson Water’s aquifer recharge projects and allows the utility to recharge and store recycled water underground for future use. Using three infiltration basins, the project has the capacity to recharge 1.3 billion gallons of water per year. But that's not all! The 40-acre facility’s design incorporates trails for walking, running, and mountain biking. Ramadas with picnic tables and benches offer opportunities for visitors to enjoy the desert landscape and recharge basins when they are filled with water. The facility also includes educational signs with information about water resources in Tucson and SHARP’s function.
GRA Position at WRRC
The WRRC is hiring a half-time graduate research assistant to help our team investigate best practices for expanding the diversity of voices heard in water resource discussions and decisions. See the full position description here. Submit a letter of interest, resume, and two references to Michael Seronde at