April 24, 2020 / Volume 8, Issue 16
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
Virtual Arizona Water Festival for Earth Day!
UArizona students, Americorps members, and APW Educators worked together to bring you the Virtual Arizona Water Festival for Earth Day Do you think that the University of Arizona is closed down due to the COVID 19 virus shelter-at-home directive? Nope, the 24-member Arizona Project WET (APW) team has come together, pooled talents and skills, and launched into the development of virtual learning experiences APW style. We have worked to maintain our interactive approach, engaging learners through inquiry, exploration, and discovery. And after 5 weeks we give you the  Arizona Water Festival Virtual Event.

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Brown Bag Webinar Only - Tucson Water Turnaround: Crisis to Success

April 29, 2020 / 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Presenter: Marie S. Pearthree, Former Deputy General Manager, Central Arizona Project

Location: Webinar

A corrosive-water debacle in Tucson preceded the lead contamination issues in Flint, MI by over two decades. In 1992, Tucson Water began delivery of Colorado River water from the Central Arizona Project (CAP). Putting treated CAP water into the existing groundwater distribution system caused a devastating corrosion problem that resulted in broken pipes and rusty water flowing from customer taps.

Brown Bag Webinar Only Developing Pathways to Solutions to Wicked Water Problems

May 6, 2020 / 12:00pm to 1:15pm

Presenter:  Sharon B. Megdal , Director, University of Arizona, Water Resources Research Center

Location: Webinar

Many regions across the globe face what are called wicked water problems, which are complex challenges that are too big for readily identifiable and/or "standard" solutions. The reasons for this are many and can relate to underlying societal or political issues and differing viewpoints as to the causes and/or potential pathways to mitigating the challenges. It is often stated that the obstacles to addressing wicked water problems may be related to public acceptance rather than technological or economic factors. Identifying and implementing pathways to solving big water challenges often require interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches; the involvement of stakeholders is extremely important. This seminar will focus on the similar but distinct wicked water issues faced in our region and the Middle East and approaches taken to solve them.

utilityCOVID-19 Calls for Response from Water Utilities

Water and wastewater utilities play an essential role in preventing the spread of COVID-19, at the same time the pandemic requires them to absorb financial and operational losses. Many households are struggling to pay their bills. In Arizona, the Corporation Commission has been encouraging utilities to make resources available to customers during COVID-19 to ensure that their services continue to be affordable; and on the national level, Congress is considering legislation, supported by more than 100 lawmakers, to block utility shutoffs for at least six months after the state of emergency.

Meanwhile, leaders in the water industry have been focusing on providing up-to-date information, guidance, and reassurance to customers. Examples of effective communications, such as those from Tucson Water, are being collected and posted by the U.S. Water Alliance in their Value of Water Campaign. The main message is, "Your tap water is safe to drink." Fact sheets on various related topics are available on the Value of Water Campaign website.

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brown-bag1April 16th Brown Bag Webinar Showcases Important WRRC Sponsored Student Research

Together, but apart, 51 interested Arizonans practiced social distancing while tuning into last week's Brown Bag Webinar. The event featured excellent presentations by students who received research grants in 2019 through  the Water Resources Research Act, Section 104(b) grant program, administered by the WRRC. Speakers included Nat Bransky and Sean Schrag-Toso. Nat is earning his MS in the Environmental Sciences and Policy Program at Northern Arizona University. He has spent the last year at the Remote Sensing and Geoinformatics Lab, studying the utility of remote sensing methods in Grand Canyon National Park. Sean, the webinar's second speaker is an MS student in Hydrology and Water Resources, pursuing a certificate in  Water Policy at the University of Arizona. He is a Peace Corps Coverdell Fellow and a Society and Environmental Fellow. Sean has spent the last year researching recharge conditions in Arizona's Patagonia mountains to  inform management and policy decisions that address increasing demands on spring flow and  groundwater levels.

Nat's and Sean's presentations
apw1#CelebrateEarth2020 - Appreciating the Natural World

The 50th anniversary of Earth Day is upon us and we are tasked with staying at home to keep our communities healthy. However, the natural world is thriving outside our window. The teachers and staff of the Recharge the Rain Project * are challenging youth and those that are young at heart to express their appreciation of the natural world through an original work of art. Show us new ways of seeing and appreciating the everyday. Participation is easy. Observe the natural world from your window, yard, or driveway while observing safe distancing requirements. Create an original work of art. It could be a drawing, painting, sculpture, photograph, poem, sidewalk chalk art, performance, or wherever your imagination takes you.
Share your art by posting a photo or video on social media (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter) with the hashtags #CelebrateEarth2020 and #RechargetheRain. Participation is open throughout 2020, not limited to the month of April. Spread the word, by sharing this link with others bit.ly/celebrateearth2020. Search social media for #Celebrateearth2020 and enjoy!
(*Recharge the Rain is a joint project of Watershed Management Group and Arizona Project WET sponsored by the NOAA Environmental Literacy Program.)

coolingMore on COVID-19 in Water - Cooling Towers and Plumbing

"There is no need to worry about [COVID-19 in] cooling towers." The possibility that aerosols from cooling towers might spread corona virus concerned Patrick D. Guccione, VP of Special Projects, Chem-Aqua, who reported in the recent WateReuse General Discussion Digest. Dr. Allison McGreer, a leading Canadian specialist in infectious disease, explains, "COVID-19 is a virus - viruses only grow within living eukaryotic cells (for SARS-CoV-2, probably only human cells). Therefore it cannot grow in cooling towers." On the other hand, research at Purdue University has been looking at impacts of a pandemic shutdown on other aspects of cooling tower and plumbing water quality. The studies address the fact that water left sitting in plumbing systems for long periods of time may contain high concentrations of heavy metals and pathogens normally controlled simply by regular usage, which flushes disinfected water through the system. There is some concern about Legionella, which can grow in cooling towers and other plumbing when buildings are vacant and idle during the pandemic. While research continues, the CDC has published a plumbing safety checklist for reopening buildings to guard against outbreaks of Legionella.
petsCoworker(s) of 
the Week

This week's coworker(s) share a workspace with WRRC  Program Coordinator Senior  Michael Seronde.  Meet Pippin (L) and Ori (R). Pippin is a Cairn Terrier and Poodle mix with half a dozen other terrier breeds thrown in. A recent DNA test has also shown him to be 100% adorable. Pippin likes sunning himself and bouncing and zooming around with other dogs. Ori, a striped tabby, enjoys napping, making muffins, and early morning lizard hunts. They both help make Michael's home office FURst-class!