Educational Insight on Important Water Issues
Articles, Reports and Other
June 15, 2022
Managed Aquifer Recharge
The imbalance between water supply and demand is of growing concern globally. Rarely a day goes by without news about the dwindling surface water supplies, with the Colorado River as the poster child. Coverage of approaches to addressing the supply/demand imbalance is broad, with strategies including augmentation, reuse, market mechanisms, and conservation. The dialogue involves not only diminishing surface water supplies but also the increasing role of, and threats to, groundwater — which accounts for 99% of Earth’s liquid freshwater (UNESCO World Water Assessment Programme 2022, see...
May 22, 2022
Drought and Groundwater Management: Interconnections, challenges, and policy responses
Droughts have severe impacts on the economy, society, and environment. They also have impacts on groundwater and vice versa. While most analyses consider drought and groundwater as disconnected, we argue that drought and groundwater management should be conjunctively considered. This article presents some key interconnections, identifies challenges, and discusses illustrative policy responses. We highlight several advancements found in international scientific research and describe future directions for drought and groundwater management. While many technological innovations have...
May 12, 2022
Water Policy Options as Arizona Adapts to a Drier Colorado River: A Perspective
On August 16, 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced the first-ever Tier 1 Colorado River shortage. The water delivery cutbacks, which went into effect on January 1, 2022, per the “Colorado River Interim Guidelines for Low Basin Shortages and Coordinate Operations for Lake Powell and Lake Mead” (2007 Interim Guidelines), are most significant for the Central Arizona Project (CAP). Governed by the Central Arizona Water Conservation District, CAP delivers water into Central Arizona for use by tribal, municipal and industrial, and agricultural users. The reason that CAP water users face...
March 01, 2022
Hydrogeomorphologic Mapping of the Transboundary San Pedro Aquifer: A Tool for Groundwater Characterization
Abstract Hydrogeomorphology is an emerging discipline that studies the relationship between landforms and hydrology, focusing on groundwater and surface water interactions. This study presents the methodology for the elaboration of a hydro-geomorphological map oriented to illustrate the relationships between the aquifer components and geomorphological characteristics in the United States-Mexico Transboundary San Pedro Aquifer (TSPA). This information contributes to a further understanding of the TSPA, facilitates the location of groundwater recharge and discharge zones, is useful...
January 12, 2022
Assessing Groundwater Withdrawal Sustainability in the Mexican Portion of the Transboundary Santa Cruz River Aquifer
The impact of climate uncertainties is already evident in the border communities of the United States and Mexico. This semi-arid to arid border region has faced increased vulnerability to water scarcity, propelled by droughts, warming atmosphere, population growth, ecosystem sensitivity, and institutional asymmetries between the two countries. In this study, we assessed the annual water withdrawal, which is essential for maintaining long-term sustainable conditions in the Santa Cruz River Aquifer in Mexico, which is part of the U.S.–Mexico Transboundary Santa Cruz Aquifer. For this assessment...
December 17, 2021
Arizona Water Factsheet: Maricopa County
The WRRC is pleased to share the first in a series of Arizona Water Factsheets. The Maricopa County Factsheet packages concise water information and builds on previous collaborative water education efforts with the Maricopa County Cooperative Extension. The Arizona Water Factsheets aim to answer common questions about water resources at the county level. Tailoring information for a local audience within the broader context of the state, these snapshot resources address basic water supply and demand, regionally relevant challenges, and sustainability issues for the future. Additional...
October 22, 2021
Tackling Wicked Water Problems in the Transboundary Colorado River Basin
A 20-minute presentation, Tackling Wicked Water Problems in the Transboundary Colorado River Basin, is available for viewing on the WRRC website. This recorded keynote presentation was to be shown at a conference in Morocco on October 20, 2021. Announcement of postponement of the in-person conference arrived a few days after the recording was submitted. Due to the high interest in the low-flow conditions of the Colorado River locally, nationally, and internationally, WRRC Director Sharon Megdal is making the recorded presentation and slides freely available. A written supplement...
July 02, 2020
A Visual Guide to Water in the Pinal Active Management Area
The WRRC is pleased to share our newly released report Getting Down to Facts: A Visual Guide to Water in the Pinal Active Management Area, a collection of information on water use and management in the Pinal Active Management Area (AMA). In partnership with the Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy, this report was created as a reference resource for interested residents, decision makers, and other stakeholders by summarizing existing data, through graphics and concise text. This report, with its 40 customized figures and tables, uses maps and data visualizations to explain the...
May 31, 2017
Desert Flows Methodology Guidebook
Successful implementation of environmental flow projects depends on land and water managers having clear objectives and access to reliable data. This guidebook provides information on a variety of methods that can be utilized under different fiscal or temporal constraints to determine and implement appropriate environmental flow targets. Based on evidence from cases focused in the Southwestern United States and Northern Mexico, steps are suggested to help ensure maintenance of flows under uncertain future natural and socio-economic conditions. The importance of education and engagement to...
September 12, 2016
Desert Flows Assessment
In the past decade there has been increased interest in providing water to meet the needs of riparian and aquatic ecosystems in the western United States and policymakers are using their knowledge of environmental flow needs to advocate for both political and scientific changes. However, there are significant challenges associated with including environmental flows in water management and planning. First, water rights for environmental flows are not universal, and in many cases legal tools used to incorporate the environment into water management and planning only require new users to...
November 14, 2012
Arizona Environmental Water Needs Methodology Guidebook
Arizona Environmental Water Needs (AzEWN) Methodology Guidebook: Determining the best methods or quantifying environmental flow needs depends on what is to be studied as well as how the information will be used. This guidebook will provide a description of the methodologies used in Arizona to define the environment’s need for water. Depending on the geographic context, the time and effort available, and whether the goal is restoration or maintenance of an ecosystem, some methods will be more appropriate for a given application than others. The resulting flows prescribed by each method...
October 01, 2012
AZ Know Your Water
A consumer's guide to water sources in Arizona, quality regulations, and home water treatment options, funded through the TRIF Water Sustainability Program grants program. Click on link above to download pdf.