There were two speakers for this session, Sarah Porter, Director of the Kyl Center for Water Policy, and Grant Weinkam, Research Analyst at the Water Resources Research Center, University of Arizona.
Porter outline the history of the “water problem” in the southwest, going back to the ancient indigenous peoples who “engineered” water by digging canals. She went on to William Augustus Hancock, the “father” of Phoenix, who saw the usefulness of the canals. Then to John Wesley Powell, first director of the USGS, who mapped the Colorado River and was partly responsible for the Newlands Reclamation Act of 1902 (Pub.L. 57–161), which helped established irrigation efforts for the 13 western arid states. Then to Babbit’s Groundwater Management Act of 1980. Areas of high growth aren’t supposed to develop unless they have the water to support the growth. Biggest challenge are areas where there isn’t CAP.
Weinkam (slides) presented on the Desert Flows Database, a database of available articles and agency reports on the environmental flow needs and flow responses for flora and fauna in watersheds of the deserts of the U.S. and Mexico. To gather the data they surveyed land managers and water managers throughout the Western US and Mexico. They currently have data from over 400 studies including depth of groundwater,legal or regulatory requirements for the species that are being considered and species abundance and age structure.
Why has agricultural needs for water decreased in recent years? AZ ag is focusing more on reuse, is becoming more efficient, and overall, there is less ag.
There are obvious issues with people who can’t afford to upgrade their systems (Najavo)
Stegner, W., & De Voto, B. (1992). Beyond the hundredth meridian: John Wesley Powell and the second opening of the West. New York: Penguin Books.
August, J.L.,Jr. (1999). Vision in the Desert: Carl Hayden and Hydropolitics in the American Southwest. Fort Worth : Texas Christian University Press.
Fleck, J. (2016). Water is for fighting over : And other myths about water in the West. Washington, DC: Island Press.