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Water/Climate Briefings

DCDC hosts Water/Climate Briefings on a regular basis. These briefings are a regular forum for the water-policy community, DCDC researchers, and students to exchange knowledge and ideas. The typical format is a panel of experts and community partners discussing issues such as the urban heat island, water re-use, and the energy-water nexus, followed by audience participation and questions. Since the launch of DCDC, we have hosted four to seven briefings each year, with panelists representing the scientific and professional perspectives.

2017-2018 Water/Climate Briefings

February 20, 2018 – Water/Ways: A Smithsonian Exhibition Touring Rural Arizona June 2018-April 2020

Panelists

  • Samantha Anderson, Grants Manager, Arizona Humanities
  • Paul Hirt, State Scholar and Professor, School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies, ASU
  • Ray Quay, Director of Stakeholder Relations, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU
  • Dave D. White, Moderator and Director, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU

Water/Ways is a traveling exhibition from the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street program touring Arizona from June 2018 April 2020. The exhibition and companion programming features community water stories and examines water as an environmental and cultural element. The exhibition is designed for small-town museums, libraries and cultural organizations and will serve as a place to convene community conversations about water’s impact on American culture.

DCDC’s WaterSim America, an exhibit within the national tour of Water/Ways, will make its Arizona debut as WaterSim Arizona, a water balance systems model for five regions of the state of Arizona. WaterSim Arizona will be both an exhibit within Water/Ways and offered to teachers as a tool for students to use in the classroom.

Water/Ways has been made possible in Arizona by Arizona Humanities, the Walton Sustainability Solutions Initiatives and School of Historical, Philosophical and Religious Studies at Arizona State University. Support for WaterSim Arizona classroom version comes from the National Science Foundation and the Arizona Community Foundation.

December 6, 2017 – Emerging Research of Land Use and Water Use Relationships

Panelists

  • Maureen Hodgins, Research Manager, Water Research Foundation
  • Jim Holway, Director, Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, Lincoln Institute for Land Policy
  • Ray Quay, Director of Stakeholder Relations, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU
  • Dave D. White, Moderator and Director, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU

The relationship between land use and water use has not been a past focus of academic or professional research or policy development. However, as academic and professional attention has been shifting to outdoor water demand, the relationship between land use and water use has gained more attention.

Recent initiatives in Arizona and Colorado, including those of the Water Research Foundation, the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, and the Decision Center for a Desert City, are focusing on various aspects of this relationship. These initiatives range from the influence of planning processes, to the impacts of urban form choices, to assessments of the current state of research and practice.

This briefing explored these new initiatives and emerging collaborations for research and practice.

November 8, 2017 – The Role of Non-Governmental Organizations in Water Management

Panelists

  • Brian Betcher, General Manager, Maricopa-Stanfield Irrigation & Drainage District
  • Scott Deeny, Arizona Water Program Lead, The Nature Conservancy
  • Jill Ozarski, Program Officer-Environment, Colorado River Initiative, Walton Family Foundation
  • Abigail Sullivan, Postdoctoral Research Associate, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU
  • Ray Quay, Moderator and Director of Stakeholder Relations, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU

Water management of the Colorado River Basin has involved a wide range of governmental institutions from local to federal.

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are also playing an important role in water management of the Basin. NGOs range from representing agricultural water consumers, working to restore the Colorado River Delta, to working with farmers to manage water withdrawals more sustainably.

The panel explored the nature of NGOs role in water management of the Colorado River Basin and why water management is being done by NGOs as opposed to governmental or for-profit institutions.

DCDC continues to explore, through research and engagement, the wide range of water management strategiex that will be needed to achieve water sustainability within the Basin.

October 4, 2017 – Dynamics and Driving Forces for Colorado River Water Demand

Panelists

  • Jamie Campbell, Information Technology Analyst Programmer II, City of Phoenix Water Services Department
  • Margaret Garcia, Assistant Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, ASU
  • Cyrus Hester, Graduate Research Assistant, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU
  • David Arthur Sampson, Senior Sustainability Scientist, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU
  • Ray Quay, Moderator and Director of Stakeholder Relations, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU

Planning for sustainable water management involves working with a wide network of complex social and natural adaptive systems.

This network intersects around both supply and demand and a key aspect of sustainability is institutional resilience to keep supply and demand balanced over the long-term.

Understanding the dynamics of demand is essential for adapting to changes that occur in this systems network.

This briefing reviewed current water management practices and ASU research that focus on the dynamics and driving forces of water demand within communities utilizing water from the Colorado River Basin.

Relationships between water demand, urban growth trends, and water management policies of different communities were explored.

2016-2017 Water/Climate Briefings

Drought and Water Shortage: Global Challenges and Solutions

March 15, 2017 – Water Governance in Pernambuco, Brazil

Panelists

  • Pedro Coli, Analyst, Integrated Water Resources Management, Inter-American Development Bank
  • Giuseppe Mascaro, Assistant Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, ASU
  • Dave D. White, Professor, School of Community Resources and Development and Director, Decision Center for a Desert City, ASU
  • Enrique Vivoni, Moderator and Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration and School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment, ASU

While there are common challenges in water management around the world, sustainability issues manifest themselves in specific ways in each region based on the local context.

In the State of Pernambuco, Brazil, there is nearly universal water supply access via household connection in the urban areas.

Despite this access to water, many water challenges still exist including intermittent water delivery, lack of water sanitation, excessive groundwater pumping, no regulation for wastewater and general water pollution, and the challenge of balancing the water system during times of high floods and droughts.

A team of researchers led by ASU and the Inter-American Development Bank are producing a decision support system and its associated scientific products in concert with local and regional partners, to inform integrated water resources management with respect to drought vulnerability and adaptation strategies for climate variability and change.

February 2, 2017 – Arizona Native American Tribal Water Security

Panelists

  • Bidtah Becker, Executive Director, Division of Natural Resources, Navajo Nation
  • Stephen Roe Lewis, Governor, Gila River Indian Community
  • Rebecca Tsosie, Regents Professor or Law, Special Advisor to the Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, University of Arizona
  • Margaret Vick, Special Counsel for Water Resources, Colorado River Indian Tribes
  • Jacob Moore, Moderator, Assistant Vice President, Tribal Relations, Office of University Affairs, Arizona State University

Arizona is home to twenty-two Native American tribes located around the state. With different geographical locations, water needs and water supplies, these tribes have both similar and unique perspectives and challenges to water security.

The panelists, representing several different tribes and geographical areas of Arizona, will discuss challenges tribes face with issues of water needs and supplies.

This discussion will include how policies to protect Native American rights intersect with these water challenges. These issues will also be considered in the context of broader water challenges in the U.S. We’ll discuss cultural and political issues including environmental justice, as basic water needs and sanitation continues to be a challenge for more remote locations.

November 30, 2016 – Shared Water Challenges: Seeking Collaborative Solutions for the U.S. and Mexico

Panelists

  • Ted Bohn, Assistant Research Scientist, DCDC
  • Hallie Eakin, Associate Professor, School of Sustainability
  • Nicole Klobas, Deputy Legal Counsel, Arizona Department of Water Resources
  • Francisco Zamora, Director, Colorado River Delta Program, Sonoran Institute
  • Ray Quay, Moderator and Director of Stakeholder Relations, DCDC

From the Colorado River Delta to Mexico City, water challenges shared by the U.S. and Mexico have resulted in collaboration and research to find solutions.

Panelists will discuss the current state of water management in Mexico’s large urban areas, agreements and partnerships between the US and Mexico, the history of water shortage, and what is planned and anticipated for the future given the prolonged drought and effects of climate change in the Colorado River Basin.

In addition, panelists will explore:

  • Mexico City reducing vulnerability under climate change from increased flooding, chronic water scarcity, and associated health outcomes.
  • Restoring the Colorado River Delta in Mexico under conditions of drought and climate change.
  • Efforts such as Minute 319, to work with Mexico as a partner in the lower basin shortage sharing to address the impact of long-term drought on the flows of the Colorado River.
  • Expanding agriculture in Mexico and its impacts on water and climate.

October 13, 2016 – Leaving No One Behind: Challenges of Urban Water Governance in the Global South

Panelists

  • Christina Culwick, Researcher, Gauteng City-Region Observatory, Johannesburg, South Africa
  • Pedro Jacobi, Professor, School of Education and the Graduate Program of Environmental Science, Institute of Energy and Environment, University of São Paulo, Brazil
  • Ajay Raghava, Deputy Director Climate Change, Division of Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change, Government of India
  • Rimjhim Aggarwal, Moderator and Associate Professor, School of Sustainability

Holistic approaches to urban water governance in Delhi, São Paulo, and Johannesburg.

The rapid pace of urbanization and population growth in cities of the Global South – within the current context of growing resource constraints, deeply embedded inequalities, and climate uncertainties – has posed new risks and vulnerabilities that call for holistic approaches to water governance.

Our panelists join us from three of the major megacities of the developing world: Johannesburg, South Africa, São Paulo, Brazil, and Delhi, India. As they engage in cross-comparative analysis and share their experiences, what lessons can communities in the Colorado River Basin take away from these discussions?

The panelists will draw connections between the structure and pattern of urban growth – particularly, in informal settlements – and the challenges of water governance. They will also examine new risks and vulnerabilities associated with rapid urbanization and discuss how these are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. In addition, the panelists will pinpoint emerging conflicts and evaluate attempts to address them through formal and informal institutions, legal structures, and policy while exploring cross-comparative lessons, particularly innovative approaches to infrastructure design, citizen participation, and social learning.

September 1, 2016 – Streaming Ahead: Unpacking Australia’s Urban Water Transition

Keynote Speaker

Megan Farrelly, PhD
Senior Lecturer, School of Social Sciences, Monash University, Australia
Project Leader CR Water Sensitive Cities Monash Water for Liveability
Chair, International Working Group for Water Sensitive Urban Design

Confronted with rapidly growing populations, increasing climate stress, and uncertain supplies of natural resources, the liveability of urban environs is seriously challenged.

Conventional, centralised, technical infrastructure systems, such as urban water and energy, are increasingly ill-equipped to meet these challenges, or to build the resilience that will safeguard our urban spaces as multifunctional, socio-cultural, and aesthetic spaces affording people safe and healthy lifestyles. Building such resilience requires a fundamental shift in environmental governance practices, which raises a core question: How can we best support this change? An emerging response lies in the view we can actively steer or facilitate a sustainability transition.

Dr. Farrelly will showcase contemporary Australian urban water practices and unpack the key socio-institutional ingredients that have helped guide this shift in practice.

A particular focus will be on how the city of Melbourne has become regarded as a front runner for advancing alternative urban water practices.

2015-2016 Water/Climate Briefings

Exploring our New NSF Award Research Themes

In summer 2015, DCDC was awarded a renewal from the National Science Foundation that effectively launches the next wave of our research, education and community outreach. Thanks to this new $4.5 million investment, DCDC will expand on the last decade of scholarship on water sustainability and climate adaptation beyond Phoenix to include other cities dependent on water from the Colorado River Basin. DCDC III will explore transformational solutions for urban water sustainability transitions necessary to sustain water supplies through the current drought and beyond. This research will be conducted through four integrated project areas.

April 27, 2016 – Sustainability Transitions for Urban Water Systems in the Colorado River Basin

Panelists

  • Arnim Wiek, IPA 4 Co-Lead, Associate Professor, School of Sustainability
  • Michael Schoon, IPA 4 Co-Lead, Assistant Professor, School of Sustainability
  • Marilyn DeRosa, Deputy Public Works, Director, City of Tempe Water Utilities
  • Kevin Moran, Senior Director, Water Program, Environmental Defense Fund
  • Dave White, Moderator and Director, Decision Center for a Desert City

The Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC) at ASU is entering its third phase of use-inspired sustainability science on decision making under climatic, biophysical, and societal uncertainties. DCDC III research will be carried out in four Integrated Project Areas (IPA). In this briefing, the panel will discuss sustainable transformational strategies, the subject matter of IPA 4.

The goal of IPA 4 is to develop a theoretically informed understanding of sustainability transitions for urban water systems in the Colorado River Basin and to enhance the capacity of cities to develop, implement, and evaluate transformational water solutions. This will be accomplished through a review of existing water solutions, modeling simulations, and real-world transition experiments.

The panel will explore solution options for reducing the potential water deficit in the Colorado River Basin and moving towards a sustainable water future in the region. Topics include: the need for transformational solutions; how we can learn about solutions through pilot projects and evaluation; the advantage of integrated solutions and broader sustainability outcomes; the role of modeling simulations in developing and testing pilot project ideas; and an approach for transferring and scaling-up solutions.

March 3, 2016 – DCDC Annual Keynote: A Conversation about Solutions for Water Sustainability in the Colorado River Basin

Panelists

  • Tom Buschatzke, Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources
  • James Eklund, Director, Colorado Water Conservation Board
  • Wellington “Duke” Reiter, Moderator and Special Advisor on Urban Initiatives, Office of the President, ASU

The Colorado River and its tributaries provide a range of ecosystem services, contributing to municipal water supplies for nearly 40 million people in seven western states, irrigating millions of acres of farmland, generating thousands of megawatts of electrical capacity for the region, and providing critical habitat for threatened and endangered species.

While the region has thus far avoided an official declaration of water shortage on the Colorado River, significant challenges remain. Together, the states of the Colorado River Basin are developing strategies to address issues including drought, groundwater management, climate variability, and infrastructure needs. So the question remains: can an over-allocated Colorado River Basin achieve water sustainability?

Policy leaders from Arizona and Colorado will discuss this question as they explore existing and possible future innovative and collaborative solutions to water sustainability that will ensure continued social, economic, and environmental vitality for the West.

February 4, 2016 – Regional Comparative Evaluation of Sustainable Water Management Strategies

Panelists

  • Ross Maciejewski, IPA 3 Co-lead, Assistant Professor School of Computing, Informatics, and Decision Systems Engineering
  • Chris Meenan, Economic Analyst, Las Vegas Valley Water District
  • Ray Quay, IPA 3 Co-lead, Research Professional, Decision Center for a Desert City
  • David Sampson, IPA 3 Co-lead, Research Scientist, Decision Center for a Desert City
  • Dave White, Moderator and Director, Decision Center for a Desert City

IPA 3 will use simulation modeling and visual analytics of biophysical and socioeconomic drivers of regional water-systems to compare and evaluate sustainable water management strategies for Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix. This will include incorporating the biophysical hydroclimate modeling of IPA 1, the social and institutional drivers of water use and decision making being explored by IPA 2, and the initial conceptual structure of sustainable transition strategies that will be explored by IPA 4.

The panel explored the existing state of water system modeling for Denver, Las Vegas and Phoenix, the possible options for comparative modeling between the three regions, and the potential inputs, output metrics, and scenarios being considered by the other IPAs.

December 3, 2015 – Actors, Institutions and Governance as Socioeconomic Drivers of and Constraints on Urban Water Systems Decision Making

Panelists

  • Kelli L. Larson, IPA 2 Co-lead, DCDC Associate Director and Co-PI
  • Amber Wutich, IPA 2 Co-lead and Co-PI
  • Michael Hanemann, IPA 2 Co-lead and Co-PI
  • Dave White, Moderator and Director, Decision Center for a Desert City

In IPA 2, we’ll research how residents, institutions, and economic dynamics shape urban water systems and the implications for sustainability transitions by comparing the cities of Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Denver. This comparison will include a residential survey of risk perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors. DCDC will explore pathways for overcoming social, political, and economic barriers to transitions. During the Water/Climate Briefing, the panel discussed opportunities and constraints for water sustainability under climate change and other long-term environmental risks.

November 5, 2015 – Modeling the Impact of Urban Expansion on Regional Hydroclimate

Panelists

  • Matei Georgescu, Assistant Professor, School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning
  • Zhihua Wang, IPA 1 Co-Lead and Assistant Professor, School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment
  • Nancy Selover, State Climatologist for Arizona
  • Summer Waters, Director of Western Lands and Communities, Sonoran Institute
  • Dave White, Moderator and Director, Decision Center for a Desert City

Integrated Project Area 1 seeks to understand the impacts of regional climate and land-use changes on urban water systems in the context of sustainability transitions in the Colorado River Basin and major cities depending on its water supply, namely Phoenix, Las Vegas and Denver.

DCDC_WCB_Nov5_2015_225

September 22, 2015 – DCDC III: Transformational Solutions for Urban Water Sustainability Transitions

Panelists

  • Dave White, DCDC Director and Moderator
  • Kelli L. Larson, DCDC Associate Director and Co-PI
  • Amber Wutich, Co-PI
  • Michael Hanemann, Co-PI

In summer 2015, DCDC was awarded a renewal from the National Science Foundation that effectively launches the next wave of our research, education and community outreach. Thanks to this new $4.5 million investment, DCDC will expand on the last decade of scholarship on water sustainability and climate adaptation beyond Phoenix to include other cities dependent on water from the Colorado River Basin. DCDC III will explore transformational solutions for urban water sustainability transitions necessary to sustain water supplies through the current drought and beyond. This research will be conducted through four integrated project areas.

DCDC_WCB_Sep22_2015_225