Water News: Arizona & Beyond, January 2016

City Announces Finalists for Director of Tucson Water

After a nationwide recruitment, the City of Tucson has three finalists for the position of director ofTucson Water. The finalists were recommended by an assessment panel of water stakeholders representing citizens, City staff, and water and infrastructure professionals. The finalists are Tucson Water Deputy Director Robert (Scott) Clark; George Maseeh, P.E., senior vice president and operations leader for ARCADIS/Malcom Pirnie, Inc. in Tucson; and Timothy Thomure, P.E., area water operations manager and water reuse practice lead for HDR Engineering, Inc. The finalists will meet with Tucson Water employees, representatives from labor unions, the City’s Executive Leadership Team, the Citizens Water Advisory Committee, and the Unified Community Advisory Board. The new director will replace Alan Forrest, who accepted a position in the private sector last June. Albert Elias currently is serving as interim director.

Suzette Kimball Confirmed as USGS Director

Before Congress left Washington for the holidays, a voting spree in the Senate led to the confirmation of Suzette Kimball to be Director of the USGS. Although she was first nominated in January 2014, Kimball remained unconfirmed until now because of internal politics between Republicans and the Department of Interior. This confirmation not only symbolizes a slight thaw in relations between the Department of Interior and the Senate, but also will provide certainty to the USGS.

How to Keep Arizona’s Water Glass Full

Paul Eckstein and George Schade, Jr. | AZ Central

A recent Arizona Town Hall laid out six must-do actions to avoid a water shortage.

The desert yields water grudgingly, so those living in what is now Arizona have carefully managed  this scarce resource from time immemorial. The Hohokams built the canals over 500 years ago to manage water. Roosevelt Dam and the Salt River Project  were created over 100 years ago. After years of trying, Congress approved the Central Arizona Project (CAP) in 1968 and the state Legislature adopted the Groundwater Management Act in 1980, and created the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), the state agency charged with planning for and regulating the use of water throughout the state.

Creative thinking on water must continue

There is always a concern that our rivers and wells will run dry. That is why in every decade since 1965, residents have gathered under the auspices of the Arizona Town Hall to discuss how best to ensure that present and future generations have sufficient water to live and prosper in this beautiful place. [Read More]

NGWA Efforts Help Achieve $3.6M for National Groundwater Monitoring Network

National Ground-Water Association

The federal budget bill signed by President Obama Friday includes further funding of the National Groundwater Monitoring Network (NGWMN), the National Ground Water Association announced today. The budget includes $3.6 million for the NGWMN — the amount advocated by NGWA and $1 million more than in 2015. The money allows the U.S. Geological Survey to expand its provision of cost-share grants to states to collect and report monitoring data. This data will be used to generate a more comprehensive picture of groundwater on a national scale. With increased pressure on water resources, particularly in the West, the implementation of the NGWMN will help inform good management of groundwater supplies across the country. For the first time, the USGS in November invited applications for up to $2 million in NGWMN grants to states.

[Read More]

California Officials Upbeat about Snowpack, but Long-Range Prospects are Unknown

Matt Stevens and Taylor Goldenstein | LA Times

Over the last several weeks, snowboarders and skiers alike have reveled in what seems to be bountiful Sierra Nevada snow. All that powder has enabled even weary state water officials to express some optimism, a feeling buoyed Wednesday when surveyors took their first manual measurement of the Sierra snowpack and found more than 54 inches. But for all of the excitement, the state’s broader drought outlook remains uncertain. Although there was about twice as much water in the state’s snow as there was on the same day last year, and five times as much as the year before that, it still just amounts to an average total. “Last year was so abysmally bad that even coming up to the average we have now looks good,” said Department of Water Resources spokesman Doug Carlson.

[Read More]


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