Innovative Solutions for a Shrinking Water Supply

By Mariana Dale via The Republic | AZcentral.com on September 28, 2014

Water scarcity is one of Arizona’s most serious, ever-present problems.

Which is why students, researchers, professionals and creative thinkers are ­being challenged to raise awareness for an issue that the experts believe needs to be addressed now.

A $100,000 prize awaits the group that comes up with the most innovative ­campaign to push water scarcity into the forefront of public ­conversation.

lmarquez_LakePowell_LowWaterLevel_052914_500The Water Consciousness Challenge is the first phase of the New Arizona Prize offered by the Arizona Community Foundation in collaboration with The Arizona Republic and the Morrison Institute for Public Policy. Underwriting for the program comes from the Tashman Fund and the Lodestar Foundation.

The next phase of the competition will challenge entrepreneurs to create business-based solutions and products to reduce water use.

“The Valley has enjoyed water affluence for a long time because we had really great planning,” said Megan Brownell, chief business development and brand officer at the Arizona Community Foundation, a Phoenix-based philanthropic organization. “It’s now time to act so there won’t be a conflict in 20 to 30 years.”

The competition wants to create a public-service campaign that raises awareness about the challenges facing Arizona’s long-term water supply so residents will feel an urgency to start working on them now.

If Arizonans don’t change how they consume water and start brainstorming new solutions for dwindling supplies, shortages won’t be a choice, they will be an unavoidable reality. Planning for the future of water now will help ensure there is enough water for future generations, Brownell said.

The message isn’t new; it has been taught with puppets, posters, television spots, brochures and landscape-design classes for years.

But experts, researchers and industry workers agree that as long as taps gush clear,drinkable water, it’s hard to keep water scarcity part of public conversation.

“One challenge is getting people to take ownership of their decisions and how they contribute to the demand side of the equation,” said Dave White, co-director of Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City, which studies water use and sustainability.

Continue reading at The Republic | AZcentral.com.

Dave White Lecture at Global Institute for Water Security

Dave White was invited to speak as a distinguished lecturer at the University of Saskatchewan’s Breakthroughs in Water Security Research: The Global Institute for Water Security Distinguished Lecture Series on Wednesday, September 24, 2014.

Date: Wednesday, September 24, 2014
Time: 3:00pm in Arizona
Location: Neatby-Timlin Theatre, Arts 241, University of Saskatchewan
View the lecture: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TAwyv3KhAjQ

Lecture Title

Envisioning the future of water governance: Linking decision-maker preferences, simulation modelling and scenario analysis to inform sustainability transitions.”

Talk Abstract

DLSWhite Sept 24_225

The coupled effects of global climate change and population dynamics on water systems are widely considered to be among the greatest urban sustainability challenges facing humanity in the Anthropocene. Climate change impacts, including rising temperatures, changes in the amount and timing of local precipitation, and increased variability will very likely reduce renewable surface and groundwater supplies and diminish raw water quality, leading to widespread but uneven risks. Semiarid and arid regions will be particularly vulnerable. Meanwhile, the world’s urban population is projected to double in the next generation and much of this urban growth will occur in arid or semiarid environments. Climate impacts will amplify existing vulnerabilities in water-scare urban regions associated with inherent variability, cyclical drought, and extreme heat. Furthermore, the projected biophysical impacts of climate change are conditioned by and interact with land use changes, population dynamics, economic development, and water management decisions. Indeed, the non-climatic stressors on water resources may outweigh the climate impacts for some regions. Taken together, these interrelated pressures pose unprecedented challenges for urban sustainability. To address these challenges, there are growing number of scholars, policy-makers, and interest groups calling for transformational solutions to enable a transition towards urban water sustainability. An essential task for such transitions is to envision a sustainable future for water governance.

He will highlight recent research that utilizes a participatory, mixed-method approach, including survey questionnaire, scenario analysis, and simulation modeling, to construct distinct, coherent, plausible, and desirable governance scenarios of the Phoenix, Arizona USA region in 2030. Four scenarios provide stakeholders and policy makers with distinct options for future water governance regimes, while the approach integrates normative values and preferences with dynamic models to inform sustainable policy making. The first scenario, Technical Management for Megapolitan Development, based on the stakeholder survey, describes a future in which water experts negotiate and acquire more water so Phoenix can continue to grow. The second scenario, Citizen Councils Pursue Comprehensive Sustainability, was selected using the sustainability appraisal. This scenario describes a future where watershed-like councils use policy instruments to reduce water use as part of a comprehensive approach to sustainability that includes integrated policy making for water, energy, food, and urban planning. Experts Manage Limited Water for Unlimited Growth is the third scenario, selected using plausibility indications, and describes a future where water experts struggle to provide for a growing population without restricting water use or acquiring new water sources. Water governance reflects a classic “muddling through” approach. The final scenario, Collaborative Governance Prioritizes Local Water Security, selected using the water security governance analysis, is a future in which water is very central to decision making. In this scenario, committees of water managers, scientists and citizens collaborate to secure water and reduce consumption to ensure the long-term viability of the metropolitan region.

Each of the four scenarios was input into WaterSim 5.0 to determine their systemic impacts under different climate scenarios. The suite of models resulted in 270 separate model runs for the 75 year simulation period for each of the 33 water utilities and the four constructed synthetic scenarios plus one base scenario.

Our approach then allows for normative scenarios to interface with a dynamic simulation model, which during stakeholder engagement activities can provide feedback to participants on the impacts of their priorities, particularly on the availability of surface and groundwater for future generations and the distribution of burdens and benefits of water and water governance. Stakeholders can then modify or dictate preconditions for their priorities and, if necessary, select new scenarios. This type of iteration and feedback with differing levels of stakeholder involvement is critical in transdisciplinary research generally and for participatory scenarios that inform transitions in particular.

The scenarios in this study can be considered boundary objects, which allow for knowledge exchange between different actors related to their opinions, values, and preferences regarding all or parts of the water system. In this capacity, the scenarios present different water governance regimes with different power arrangements in a way that is comprehensible to broad audiences. For the Phoenix region, the scenarios can also facilitate conversations with other regions about water governance. Bounding the governance regime to the Phoenix region is a necessity of the scenario construction process that does not necessarily reflect the governance or hydrological reality. In the future, Phoenix will be negotiating for water with other state and regional actors, particularly those with rights to the Colorado River. By selecting a scenario to guide transition activities, Phoenix will have a boundary object with which to communicate its priorities to its partners on the Colorado River. Such efforts could contribute to further coordination of sustainable water governance across the Southwest.

World Water Monitoring Day

via EPA

Did you ever stop to wonder how we get our information on the condition of our Nation’s streams, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters? Or whether these waters are safe enough to swim in, fish from, or use for drinking or irrigation purposes? Monitoring provides this basic information.

lmarquez_riparianSunriseThe responsibility to monitor water quality rests with many different organizations. States and federal agencies have leading monitoring roles. Utilities, universities, watershed organizations and even individual citizens also monitor chemical, physical, and biological conditions in our waters.

World Water Monitoring Day is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness of the importance of protecting water resources around the world by engaging people to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.

World Water Monitoring Day is officially celebrated on September 18, but monitoring and educational events can take place any time between March 22 and December 31. During this time, people of all ages throughout the world community will have an opportunity to monitor the quality of their local watersheds and enter the results of their efforts into an international database. Simple monitoring kits are available for purchase by anyone interested in participating. These kits can be ordered at any time. For more information, visit World Water Monitoring Day.

In Arizona, the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) is tasked with providing stewardship of the State’s precious and limited groundwater resources through active management and enforcement of the Arizona Groundwater Code. The Department’s Hydrology Division engages in a wide variety of data collection activities in support of public needs, such as the Assured and Adequate Water Supply and Recharge Programs, Drought Monitoring Program, well drilling and well impact assessments, and in support of hydrologic studies such as groundwater modeling and water budget development.

There is a continuing need to provide better hydrologic data in many parts of the State and to devote more attention to ensuring that activities are coordinated so that the information gathered and products produced are made widely available within the Department and to the public. This will ensure that pertinent and recent data and results are used whenever possible, reduce redundancy, and increase communication.

There is also a need to collect additional data in areas of the state subject to rapid change, such as developing areas or areas sensitive to change. To these ends, the Department has formed an internal Hydrologic Monitoring Committee to review our data collection activities, adjust the activities to meet program needs (reaching Active Management Area (AMA) goals such as safe yield, development of groundwater water budgets, and models), and to ensure a proper flow of information within the Department and between the Department and outside agencies and the public.

The Department currently collects data concerning:

  • Groundwater levels
  • Groundwater use in AMAs and INAs
  • Spring locations and surface water diversion points
  • Crop types and uses
  • Land subsidence
  • Gravity changes and aquifer storage changes
  • Aquifer water quality

Many of these activities are concentrated within the Active Management Areas of the state, as called for by the Groundwater Code. Recently, the Department has focused more attention in the rural areas of the state in recognition of rapid planned development in those areas and to support the Rural Water Shed Initiative, the statewide drought monitoring program, and the adjudication process underway in the Gila and Little Colorado River watersheds.

Check out the History of Water Management in Arizona.

PepsiCo’s New Water-Modeling Tool

PepsiCo Unveils New Water-Modeling Tool at World Water Week

via PotatoPro.com

September 3, 2014

Today at the Stockholm International Water Institute’s annual World Water Week, PepsiCo (NYSE: PEP) announced the company’s latest Water Report and unveiled Hydro-BID, a ground-breaking data management and modeling tool developed in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) that estimates the availability of freshwater in water-scarce regions throughout Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).

WorldWaterWeekFlag_Stockholm_296The IDB’s Hydro-BID is an open-source modeling tool that has the potential to forecast water availability and supply in the LAC region under virtually any climate, population and land use scenario. To date, the tool has projected water supplies in Brazil, Peru, Haiti and Argentina, and is expected to impact more than three million people across the LAC region by 2017.

PepsiCo Foundation’s $5 Million grant to IDB’s AquaFund is contributing to fund pilot projects, in partnership with the governments of Switzerland and Austria, in five countries and will reach approximately 500,000 beneficiaries by the end of 2015. While some projects are aimed to improve access to safe water and sanitation services for scattered communities in extreme poverty, other projects like Hydro-BID present an unparalleled effort to develop a suite of watershed modeling tools that could be applied worldwide.

In addition to aiding countries with water budgeting and water-resource planning, Hydro-BID helps policymakers and communities prepare for floods and droughts. “Contrary to popular belief, floods and droughts are foreseeable phenomena that governments and communities can prepare for,” said Dr. Fernando Miralles-Wilhelm, Hydrologist and Water Resources Engineer at IDB. “Not only will Hydro-BID help communities prepare for natural disasters, but it will also help public utility and water managers get a better handle on water planning and budgets. Through the support of partners like the PepsiCo Foundation, the IDB is able to develop and implement innovative solutions and approaches like Hydro-BID that will forecast water availability, aid infrastructure projects, and drive local and regional economic goals.”

As a global food and beverage company dependent on water-intensive agricultural activities, PepsiCo seeks to drive water efficiency in its operations and throughout its supply chain, as part of the company’s public commitment to help protect and conserve global water supplies. In fact, water stewardship is a critical component of PepsiCo’s approach to sustainable business development—what it calls “Performance with Purpose”—and one way the company strives to “future-proof” the business in today’s competitive, resource-scarce world.

“Water is a critical global resource and few challenges are as significant as the global water crisis,” said Dan Bena, Senior Director, Sustainable Development and Operations Outreach at PepsiCo. “Water is also a central part of our business, and we know that we need to be water stewards in order to sustain our business and the communities of which we are a part.”