IN THIS ISSUE: Reflections, Honoring Veterans, Gila Topminnow, Climate Assessment, APW-Water Conservation, Miguel Moreno, River Rights
Reflections: The Importance of Dialogue, Process, and Participation
I write this after participating in the American Water Resources Association (AWRA) annual conference, which was held November 9-11, 2020. Though delivered virtually, the highly engaging conference had all the richness and much of the structure of an in-person event in terms of schedule and sessions, as can be seen by visiting the conference website. Alongside the live plenary and featured panel sessions were topical sessions, which were a combination of pre-recorded presentations and live question and answer discussions. I congratulate the conference committee and staff for making the complex pivot to virtual delivery. As an AWRA board member, I contributed in a limited way: In addition to the interactive panel I organized on Wicked Water Problems, I recommended two University of Arizona (UArizona) colleagues, Dr. Diana Liverman and Dr. Karletta Chief, as speakers for two other panels. Now that the conference is over, I am struck by how our three distinct panels addressed some of the same fundamental issues of dialogue, process, and participation. However, before I address some key take-aways, I will offer comments on the conference experience itself and, given that I am involved in planning multiple conferences, invite you to share with me ( some of your experiences with virtual conferences now that we are eight months into the COVID-19 pandemic.

Animas River Before and After the Gold King Mine Spill of 2015.

To honor the very special veteran in our household, I thought that I’d share this photo. A few years ago, the Maricopa VFW attended a Veteran’s Day Celebration at the Legacy School in Maricopa, Arizona. While we were there, a sweet little girl came up to my husband Jack and asked if he was a veteran. When he said he was, she saluted him – and I was lucky enough to be ready with the camera. I love this photo, and I am so proud of my husband, who served two tours in Vietnam as an Air Force medic.
by Jean E. McLain
Brown Bag Webinar: Southwestern Navajo Rural Water Appraisal Study

Date: Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Time: 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
Location: Webinar
Speaker: Kevin Black, Sr., Planning Program Manager, US Bureau of Reclamation - Phoenix Area Office
The Bureau of Reclamation, in cooperation with the Navajo Department of Water Resources, completed a regional water resource investigation in the southwestern Chapters of the Navajo Nation. Federal partners, local Chapter representatives, private contractors, and a health care steering committee collaborated over two years to complete a comprehensive plan to develop water to meet domestic and commercial demands. This presentation will include the qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection used and highlight the public/Tribal/private partnership organized to complete a report of findings.

Upcoming Webinars
Dec. 2 – Balancing Water for People and Nature:
The Upper San Pedro River
Scott Deeny, Arizona Water Program Lead, The Nature Conservancy
Holly Richter, Arizona Water Projects Director, The Nature Conservancy

Dec. 9 - Balancing Environmental, Municipal, and Agricultural Needs in the Edwards Aquifer: A Farmer’s Perspective
Adam Yablonski, President, Comanche Creek Farms

Jan. 14, 2021 – Transferring Water in Arizona
Patrick J. Cunningham, Public Affairs Consultant and General Counsel, HighGround
Michael J. Pearce, Partner, Gammage & Burnham
Gila Topminnow Returns to
Downtown Tucson
“It’s a win for the city of Tucson, a win for wildlife and the environment, and it’s a win for the river,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero as she reintroduced the Gila topminnow into a section of the Santa Cruz River in downtown Tucson last month. Although the diminutive fish has been found in other stretches of the Santa Cruz River on October 26, the Santa Cruz River Heritage Project made history by returning the endangered Gila topminnow to a section of the river it has not swum for over 100 years. Michael Bogan, an aquatics biologist at UArizona, said, “this is what we have been dreaming about the last year and a half” since Tucson Water began pumping reclaimed water into the river channel to restore riparian habitat and recharge the aquifer. Not only does this reintroduction mark an important step toward the restoration of the endangered species, but the Gila topminnow also plays an important role in the overall health of the riparian ecosystem. According to Bogan, the fish will help eat mosquitos and serve as a food source for birds and other wildlife. 

Experiences of a National Climate Assessment Author
The US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) has announced a call for author nominations (due Saturday, November 14, 2020) for the 5th National Climate Assessment (NCA). Gregg Garfin, UArizona Associate Professor/Extension Specialist, University Director, Southwest Climate Adaptation Science Center, and Deputy Director for Science Translation and Outreach, Arizona Institutes for Resilience, reflects here on his experiences heading extraordinary teams of authors on the Southwest chapter of the 3rd (2014) and 4th (2018) NCAs. He notes the challenges and rewards of participation in the creation of these authoritative documents. Garfin wrote:
What first impressed me was the rigor of the process. In a 24-month period, the 4th National Climate Assessment (NCA4) went through an 8-step review, including reviews by the public, federal agencies, the National Academies, technical staff, and USGCRP. Each review required that the authors provide a detailed response for every review comment, in addition to editing and rewriting text. The reviews are overseen by a Review Editor, whose job was to ensure that the responses really answered the reviews’ questions; it was not a rubber stamp process.

Water Conservation:
One Remote Learner at a Time
Remote learning brings teachers into their students’ homes. With APW’s Water Scene Investigation (WSI), we’re making those homes a little more water efficient, one aerator at a time. It’s the perfect time to engage students in investigations inside their own homes that can help save water. In the WSI, students interview family members about water use, measure the baseline flow rates of their faucets, and then change out the aerators for higher efficiency ones that reduce their overall water use. As we begin playing “Water Conservation Technology Trivia” and working with students, it’s been fun to Zoom into their homes and help spread water conservation! So much so, that when Ms. Schiffman's 4th graders had questions about the assignment, APW Water Educators Zoomed into their classroom and helped students individually with math problems, AND device installation!

Initiating the Indigenous Water Dialogue Project
Miguel Moreno, a third-year law student at UArizona James E. Rogers College of Law, has been helping WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal with the WRRC's Indigenous Water Dialogue project. As part of the Haury Program Tribal Initiative, Moreno is helping plan the 2021 WRRC Annual Conference by serving as a liaison between indigenous people and the WRRC. About her collaboration with Moreno, Megdal said: “I have enjoyed working with and getting to know Miguel, who has been so helpful in initiating the Indigenous Water Dialogues project. I hope it is not too long before we get to meet in person!” The Indigenous Water Dialogues project is building on concepts and opportunities flowing from the 2015 WRRC Conference Indigenous Perspectives on Sustainable Water Practices. One of the objectives of the Indigenous Water Dialogue project is to raise awareness of the importance of cultural services that water provides to Native Nations across state lines. Moreno is part of the Indigenous Peoples Law and Policy Program. He is hoping the Indigenous Water Dialogue project will remain a long-lasting platform for promoting the rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Rivers Granted Legal Rights in
Orange County, FL
On November 3, 2020, 89% of the residents of Orange County, Florida approved the Right to Clean Water Charter Amendment, which prohibits the pollution of all water bodies within the county. This piece of legislation, drafted by the environmental group Speak Up Wekiva, states that rivers and waterways in Orange County have the right to exist, to flow, to be protected against pollution, and to maintain a healthy ecosystem. The amendment also specifies that all citizens of Orange County have a right to clean water by having the waters of orange county protected against pollution. Residents can now bring lawsuits on behalf of water bodies to address environmental degradation, even if they have not been personally harmed by the pollution. This amendment, also called the Wekiva River and Econlockhatchee River Bill of Rights, puts Florida at the forefront of the rights for nature movement in the US.
Photograph by D Ramey Logan, CC BY-SA 4.0

Student Position at WRRC
The WRRC is hiring a part-time student employee to help our team with an ongoing data organization and cataloging project. See the full position description here. Submit a letter of interest, resume, and two references to Michael Seronde at