IN THIS ISSUE: Shanghai Ranking, Reclamation Study, Arizona Project WET, Xeriscaping Online, New Team Member
Where is the Rain? 
After another week of extreme heat and no rain, many in Tucson and around the state are asking, where are the monsoons? Recent articles in the Arizona Daily Star and other news outlets, a posting from the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and a KOLD interview with WRRC Director Sharon Megdal have all touched on this year’s “non-soon.” According to the ADWR posting, July was the hottest month on record in Phoenix and Tucson. Precipitation has also been exceptionally low; Tucson received only 0.46 inches of rain in July, far below the average of 2.25 inches. The WRRC checked in with UArizona climate scientist Mike Crimmins about this year’s monsoons, and he summed up the situation saying “this monsoon has been a bummer, no other way to say it. It is still a bit early to call it, but unless things turn around in the next couple of weeks, Tucson will have its driest and probably hottest monsoon on record.” While there is still a chance we may get some precipitation this season, “it is probably too late to fully turn things around and get back to normal precipitation levels” Crimmins added. To Arizonans, every cloud on the horizon is a hopeful sign at this time of year. Let’s hope for a little relief; our landscaping, wildlife, and electric bills could sure use it.  
Photo: Iris Chaparro

View the “non-soon” resources: Arizona Daily Star, ADWR, KOLD
Brown Bag Webinar - Toward a Sense of the Basin: Designing a Collaborative Process to Develop the Next Set of Guidelines for the Colorado River System

Date: Tuesday, September 1, 2020
Time: 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
Location: Webinar Only

Speaker: Daryl Vigil, Co-facilitator, Water and Tribes Initiative

Daryl Vigil will provide an overview of Toward a Sense of the Basin: Designing a Collaborative Process to Develop the Next Set of Guidelines for the Colorado River System, a report from the Water and Tribes Initiative, which since 2017 has pursued two complementary objectives:
  1. to enhance tribal capacity to participate in basin-wide policy decisions and
  2. to advance sustainable water management in the basin through collaborative decision-making.

Brown Bag Webinar - Arizona Water Blueprint: A Roadmap to Good Stewardship

Date: Thursday, September 17, 2020
Time: 12:00 - 1:15 p.m.
Location: Webinar Only

Speakers: Sarah Porter, Director, Kyl Center for Water Policy; Susan Craig, Water Policy Analyst, Kyl Center for Water Policy

Speakers from The Kyl Center for Water Policy will be presenting the Arizona Water Blueprint: A Roadmap to Good Stewardship. This signature project is an innovative interactive map of the state’s water resources and infrastructure. Rich with data, the Blueprint is designed to foster holistic water resource thinking and informed water policy discussions to influence sound water stewardship in the state. The Blueprint offers opportunities for both free exploration and guided tours, and in the future it will feature detailed information about proposed augmentation projects and the water resilience of communities throughout the state.

Tribal Water Law Conference: Expanding Access in a Shrinking Environment

Date: September 14-15, 2020 
This year, the Tribal Law Institute's 9th Annual Conference will be online. Distinguished speakers will present an update on current tribal water law issues. Topics include effects of climate change on water rights, tribal water rights settlements, tribal water marketing basics, and water’s role in the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on tribal communities. In addition, Heather Whiteman Runs Him, Director of the Tribal Justice Clinic in UArizona’s James E. Rogers College of Law, and Stanley Pollack, Assistant Attorney General - Water Rights Unit for the Navajo Nation, will talk on the ethical consideration in representing tribal clients. 

UArizona Ranks #1 in Water Resources

The ShanghaiRanking Consultancy recently published its 2020 Academic Rankings of World Universities by academic subject, and the University of Arizona scored first among U.S. institutions and second globally in the water resources category. The rankings are based on metrics including the number of peer-reviewed journal publications, citation ratios, international collaboration, and staff awards. The University of Arizona has ranked in the top three globally for water resources research since ShanghaiRankings began tracking the category in 2017. UArizona News quotes Elizabeth Cantwell, Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation, “the University of Arizona has leveraged its natural surroundings with top-notch faculty across a variety of college and departments to generate influence in water studies that goes well beyond the Southwest to benefit arid and semi-arid regions around the world.” To learn more about water resources at the University of Arizona, visit the Water Network website.

Reclamation 24-month Study Projects Status Quo Operating Conditions through 2022

Friday, August 14, the US Bureau of Reclamation released its August 24-Month Study, which projects the levels of the Colorado River reservoirs, Lake Powell and Lake Mead, on January 1st, 2021 and 2022. A slightly above average snowpack (107%) in the Upper Basin this year yielded below average April-July inflow into Lake Powell because of extremely hot and dry conditions during these months. In fact, it was one of the lowest inflows of the past 50 years at 52% of average. Lake Powell inflows determine the amount of water released to the Lower Basin. Lake Mead levels below 1090 feet trigger “Tier Zero” reductions in water deliveries per the 2019 Drought Contingency Plan agreement among the Lower Colorado River Basin states. Mexico also takes cuts. The study shows Lake Mead’s elevation is expected to be 1085.28 feet on January 1, 2021 (nearly the same as last year’s projection) and 1086.90 feet January 1, 2022, keeping Lake Mead in a Tier Zero condition for the next two years. The situation in 2022 may change, however, depending on future hydrologic conditions. For Arizona, this means an annual reduction of 192,000 acre-feet from Arizona’s 2.8 million-acre-foot Colorado River allocation. Tier Zero reductions fall on water banking, replenishment, and agricultural users, not on tribal or municipal CAP water users. The 192,000-acre-foot reduction, however, is close to the volume that Arizona water users have been voluntarily conserving in Lake Mead since 2015. This voluntary conservation has helped stabilize Lake Mead levels in the short term and bought time for water managers to deal with long-term issues.

Bureau of Reclamation August 24-Month Study
Building Solutions While Staying-In

“Use what you have. Start where you are. Do what you can.” This advice was given by Kelisa Wing, an educator, advocate, and author, speaking about dismantling structural racism and inequities during the Stay-In-stitute teacher professional development provided by Climate Generation, The Wild Center, and NOAA Education. At the end of July, a cohort of eight Recharge the Rain teachers, a WMG partner, and two APW education coordinators attended this 3-day online workshop that covered topics on racial equity, storytelling, science, indigenous knowledge, social solutions, and youth activism, all under the umbrella of climate change. Critical thinking and self-reflection were integral in the learning process. Concept maps created by participants prior to the workshop served as a tool to map individual learning and goals related to climate change education. At the end of the workshop it was clear to the educators that communities, science, justice, equity, and education are all connected! Educators completed the workshop with the knowledge, tools, resources, support, and passion to, “Do what you can!” to combat climate change while addressing systemic issues in their communities.

Check out the compilation of online resources available to help in Betsy Wilkening’s Wakelet.

Learn Xeriscaping Online

In the Southwestern desert, water conservation begins outdoors, where xeriscaping can save a lot of water over traditional landscapes. People new to xeriscaping, or those wanting to freshen the look of their yards, have some Arizona-specific online tools to consult. Arizona Municipal Water Users Association (AMWUA) has a new online planning guide “Xeriscaping: Landscaping with Style in the Arizona Desert.” It steps the user through the phases of design, installation and maintenance. AMWUA also has an online catalog of low-water-use plants to choose from: “Plants for the Arizona Desert.” Another informative plant list is available from the UA Campus Arboretum in “Valuable Resources for Desert Gardening and Restoration.” The resources include a plant selector, gardening guide, design tips, and list of additional information sources. Everything needed to learn about xeriscaping is accessible on these sites.

WRRC Welcomes New Administrative Support Professional
We are happy to welcome Rose Veneklasen to the WRRC as our new Administrative Support Professional! Rose will be contributing to a wide variety of administrative and outreach efforts. Rose completed her BA in Media Arts at the University of Arizona with a minor in Studio Art. Prior to joining the WRRC, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Middle East Studies Association and wore a variety of hats during that time. She has an interest in photography, film, and other cultures and is looking forward to learning more about water conservation. Welcome to the team, Rose!