IN THIS ISSUE: Brown Bag Recap, Parched, ADEQ, APW, David Snider
NASA-Navajo Nation Collaborate on
New Drought Reporting Tool
On January 20, 2021, the WRRC hosted Dr. Amber McCullum, a researcher in the Earth Science Division at NASA, and Nikki Tulley, a PhD student in the Department of Environmental Science at UArizona, who co-presented “Collaborative Capacity Building and Sovereign Science with NASA and the Navajo Nation.” McCullum explained that NASA uses remote sensors on satellites to collect data, such as rainfall and vegetation, by detecting reflected energy from Earth. NASA has developed programs and trainings with various partners to empower communities by using satellite data. McCullum and Tulley collaborated last summer on NASA's Navajo Nation Drought Project, which "aims to provide the Navajo people with useful data to better manage their water resources through the Drought Severity Evaluation Tool (DSET)." DSET is a web-based drought reporting tool that combines Navajo rain gauge data collected by Tribal members, NASA satellite and model data, and drought indices. Tulley provided a demonstration of DSET to show how it could help Navajo members and water managers make decisions based on local drought conditions data.
Brown Bag: Recovery of Arizona Water Bank Credits to Mitigate Shortages on the Colorado River

Date: Wednesday, Feb 3, 2021
Time: 12:00-1:15 p.m. MST
Location: Webinar Only
Rabi Gyawali, Water Resource Engineer, Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR)

Simone Kjolsrud, Technical Administrator, Arizona Water Banking Authority (AWBA)

Angie Lohse, Senior Policy Analyst, Central Arizona Project (CAP)
The Arizona Water Banking Authority has accrued over 3.8 MAF of credits to provide firming for Arizona water users during shortages on the Colorado River. Planning for future recovery of AWBA credits involves collaboration between the AWBA, ADWR, CAP, and stakeholders. In coordination with the Recovery Planning Advisory Group (RPAG), this interagency workgroup will release an update to the 2014 Joint Recovery Plan in early 2021.

This webinar will include a discussion of Colorado River shortage impacts, updated modeling, and an overview of the updated Recovery Plan document. The Recovery Plan includes projections for the likelihood, magnitude, and timing of future recovery needs and provides estimates of the recovery capacity required for AWBA firming. The updated Plan also includes an operational timeline to identify critical decision points and key deadlines for recovery implementation.

Upcoming Webinars

Jessica Fox, Water Policy Advisor, AMWUA
Mar 11: Community Service and Environmental Justice as Essential Best Practices For the Clean Water Utility of the Future
Andrew Kricun, Managing Director, Moonshot Missions; Senior Fellow, US Water Alliance
Mar 31: The Internet of Water: Partnerships for Progress—Modernizing Water Data to Meet 21st Century Needs
Peter Colohan, Executive Director, Internet of Water, Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University

Apr 8: 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: Update from Tucson Water on Reuse Projects
John Kmiec, Interim Director, Tucson Water
17th Annual WRRC Chocolate Fest

Date: Friday, Feb 12, 2021
Time: 3:30-5:00 p.m. MST

Don't miss the WRRC Chocolate Fest—this year held on Zoom. Prepare your favorite homemade chocolate treat to share virtually in this Chocolate Delight Show & Tell. You might just win a prize!

Art Exhibit Examines Water in the Southwest
Tó éí ííńá át'é – Water is Life, in the Diné, or Navajo language. This truth is known to the Diné and throughout Arizona. A recent art exhibition, Parched: The Art of Water in the Southwest, explores the complexities and challenges of water in the face of climate change, informed by cultural and scientific inquiry. In early 2019, a group of Arizona-based artists took part in a week-long water “boot-camp” organized through a collaboration between the Flagstaff Arts Council, Coconino Plateau Watershed Partnership, Northern Arizona University, and the Sierra Club Grand Canyon Chapter. According to exhibition materials, the artists, together with water experts and exhibition curator Julie Comnick, traced water from Northern Arizona down to the Central Valley, gaining “insight into our intricate relationship with water in our natural, cultural, and political landscapes.” From this experience, in the fall of 2020, the artists created works of art installed as an exhibition at the Coconino Center for the Arts in Flagstaff. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, a film documentary was produced to offer an opportunity for the wider community to see the artwork and hear the voices of the artists, scientists, and community leaders who joined efforts to create the exhibition. The exhibit has now moved to the Amerind Museum in Dragoon, AZ, where it will open February 2 and run through January 16, 2022.
ADEQ Surface Water Protection Program
On December 15, 2020, the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality (ADEQ) held a stakeholder meeting with over 550 attendees to seek input on the Draft Surface Water Protection Program. Point source discharge of pollutants into Waters of the United States (WOTUS) is regulated under the Clean Water Act. However, the change in the federal definition of WOTUS on June 22, 2020 narrowed the protections for some Arizona waterways. This prompted ADEQ to develop the state Surface Water Protection Program, which would add protections to some waterways not protected under the new federal rule. The Draft Surface Water Protection Program Map is available online and highlights nearly 800 waterbodies currently listed under the program.
Dragonflies and Turtles and Ducks! Oh My!
One of the Arizona Project WET team’s favorite things to do (in non-pandemic times) is introducing youth to scientific practices in beautiful Arizona riparian areas. Although we can’t get out on field trips now, it is still important to build appreciation for natural resources and science observation skills in young people. To that end, the APW team developed the Virtual Discovery Program.

APW water educators have now virtually guided over 550 elementary and middle school students through the Sweetwater Wetlands in Tucson and the Hassayampa River Preserve, near Wickenburg, Arizona. In a one-hour virtual session that includes both live interaction and video clips that take students directly to the site, students learn about riparian areas and how to become better scientific observers. They are able to get an up-close and personal view of some riparian wildlife through videos and to practice making good scientific drawings of these mysterious creatures. It’s not quite the same as peeking under leaves in search of insects in the field, but student drawings have made us smile every time!

David Snider Remembered for His Leadership in Water and More

Early Friday, January 22, longtime WRRC friend David Snider passed away following heart surgery at Banner Desert Medical Center in Mesa. Well-known as a civic leader and long-serving public official, Snider contributed his time and energy to a long list of community organization efforts in Pinal County. He came to Casa Grande in 1977 to begin a 26-year tenure as library director. He was elected to the Pinal County Board of Supervisors in 2004 and served through 2012. For decades, his deep interest in water manifested itself in service and leadership on the Pinal AMA Groundwater Users Advisory Council, the Pinal County Local Drought Impact Group, the Pinal County Water Augmentation Authority, and the WRRC’s External Advisory Committee. His impact was felt far beyond Pinal County, and his many friends in the water community were shocked and saddened by his death. WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal praised David Snider as “a strong voice for sound water management and a steady supporter of the WRRC’s work;” adding “I will miss his friendship and counsel.”

Photo: Lynn Ketchum

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