May 15, 2020 / Volume 8, Issue 19
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
In this issue:  Colorado River  /  Big Data / APW / Drinking WaterPets
WRRC Conference: The Agenda is Posted
The WRRC is pleased to announce that our exciting agenda for the WRRC Conference, Water at the Crossroads: The Next 40 Years, has been posted on our website. We are grateful that so many of our speakers were able to come on this journey with us into the virtual realm and we even have a few additions! This entirely virtual conference begins at 1 pm on Thursday, June 18, followed by several concurrent "Happy Hours," where you can interact with colleagues and friends, old and new. It continues from 8 am-12:30 pm on Friday, June 19. Thursday afternoon features an opening keynote by former Arizona Governor and US Secretary of the Interior Bruce Babbitt and a panel featuring past Arizona Department of Water Resources directors who will share their thoughts on "The Road Travelled." Later in the afternoon, panelists in "Drawing the Water Map" will bring us up-to-date on such topics as groundwater, technology, and water quality. Our first session on Friday, June 19 sets the stage for future planning with panel presentations on water in relation to climate, indigenous peoples, natural systems, agriculture, and rural communities. In the next session, several Arizona legislators and Mr. Chuck Podolak from the Governor's Office offer their perspectives on "Choosing a Route." We close the day with "On-Ramp to a Resilient Future" where our panelists will discuss business, government, environment, agriculture, and more as we look forward to the next 40 years of water management. This program combined with audience polling and on-line Q&A, will make this a conference to remember!

coloradoFlows Keep the Colorado River Healthy

For the third year in a row, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation will make precise adjustments to water releases from Glen Canyon Dam and Lake Powell to improve the egg-laying conditions for insects. These "bug flows" mitigate water level changes that interfere with insects' laying and cementing their eggs near the edge of the river and threaten the survival of those eggs. As in the previous two years, bug flows began on May 1st and will conclude on August 31st, yielding valuable information about aquatic insects and the fish, birds, and bats that depend on them. These experiments are designed to maximize benefits to the Colorado River ecosystem through the Grand Canyon while meeting water delivery requirements and minimizing negative impacts to hydropower production.

Read more  about the experiment
dataHidden Costs - Big Data's Water Use

As our daily routines continue to be disrupted because of the COVID-19 pandemic, many are turning to digital platforms for entertainment, work, communication, and socializing. One commonality in our increasingly digital routine is the reliance on the data centers that make it all possible, and in turn, the resource that keeps our data flowing - water. A recent article on the massive increases in data network usage during this pandemic discusses the underlying water cost. The article illustrates the impact of big data on water resources by pointing to the Google data center project approved last year in Mesa, AZ. According to the article, Google's data center would initially receive one million gallons of water per day from the city, increasing to as much as 4 million gallons per day as the center develops. The situation is similar at data centers across the country and throughout the world. As data network use increases, so does the demand for cooling water and power. which is often generated in already water-stressed regions.
Read the article here
APWCelebrating the Colorado River

Students are graduating and launching new chapters in their lives and Moms are being honored. It's May and time to celebrate! Here in Arizona, we have another reason to celebrate - the first delivery of Colorado River water from the Central Arizona Project 35 years ago. If we take a step back in time to the 1940's, long before computers, laser levels, and other modern technology, a collective vision for one of the world's longest aqueduct systems appeared almost as a mirage out of the desert. Arizona is fortunate to have had determined visionaries, who not only helped our State become one of the largest agricultural producers in the country, but also helped Phoenix become the metropolis it is today. It's our State's history and something we should know.
Arizona Project WET, with support from CAP, has been engaging teachers and students in this compelling story about water resources management for the past 18 years. This summer, our first teacher professional development academy will focus on the Colorado River Watershed and CAP. Teachers will develop and use models to identify parts of the regional water cycle and regional watershed; use a model and mathematical thinking to identify the inputs and outputs in the Colorado River system; construct explanations and design solutions for water management and distribution; analyze and interpret tree ring data to relate past to future streamflow; and engage in a debate on evidence about  past, present, and future management of the Colorado River. When it comes to water, the legacy of CAP is truly something to celebrate.  Read more in the CAP Know Your Water News!
drinking-waterCommunication is Key to Drinking Water Customer Satisfaction

According to a survey of 90 U.S. water utilities serving at least 400,000 customers, 25% of respondents never drink their tap water. News of the survey report, "J.D. Power 2020 U.S. Water Utility Residential Customer Satisfaction StudySM," was released May 6. It is the 5th in an annual series that evaluates water utilities on a 1,000-point scale on six factors; in order of importance they are 1) quality and reliability, 2) price, 3) conservation, 4) billing and payment, 5) communications, and 6) customer service. The reasons respondents gave most often for never drinking their tap water were bad taste (11%); bad smell (10%); poor clarity (8%); and scaling/water hardness (8%). Fixing these issues would require substantial infrastructure investment. But another important reason some people avoid tap water is safety concern, and this essentially unwarranted concern points to a need for more effective communication with customers. Water utilities publish the results of their water quality testing at least annually, for the purpose of reassuring customers that their tap water is safe. Only about 40% of customers remember seeing the report, which is usually mailed with their bill; but of those who remember seeing the reports, 80% drink the water. Furthermore, overall customer satisfaction with the utility is higher among those who drink the water. Additional satisfaction is earned by proactive communications with customers--calls, emails, texts, and social media posts. The value of effective communication may be a particularly important message for utilities now, when 41% of customers expressed concern about contracting COVID-19 from drinking water, despite statements from numerous authorities to the contrary.

Read the News Release 
coworkerCoworkers of 
the Week

This week's coworkers share a workspace with WRRC Assistant Director Susanna Eden. Meet Odysseus and Gryphon. 
Odysseus (or Odys) is the fluffy red dog. Gryphon is the puppy. Odys is a great watchdog, barking at any noise that may be an intruder, but loves everyone, craves affection, and is good at napping and taking walks. He is also very patient with Gryphon, although sometimes his patience runs thin. Gryphon is a little terror who is just learning not to bite at ankles or chew on the furniture. He talks a lot and has quite a vocabulary. He also is good at napping and is a natural when it comes to taking walks.