Thirsty for educational and professional opportunities in the water resources field? Don’t forget about Tucson.
Phoenix is often the focus of water news in Arizona. This is no surprise; it’s home to SRP, CAP, the state water agencies, the capital — and, of course, the largest population base in Arizona. As such, most of our water policy decisions are made in Phoenix, and we Tucsonans regularly find ourselves driving there for meetings. However, Tucson is more than just a basketball town! Water scientists and policy experts who live, work, and visit here benefit from a rich array of research, educational, and professional opportunities.
The University of Arizona is home to many research groups — including the internationally acclaimed Department of Hydrology and Water Resources — that advance our understanding of hydrology, water policy, and water resource sciences. Other important and well-known campus research centers include the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, Institute for the Environment, Water Sustainability Program, and Arizona Laboratory for Emerging Contaminants, to name just a few. The UA’s Water Resources Research Center brings together a diversity of researchers and professionals for its annual conference (April 8 this year). Tucson is also home to the USGS Water Science Center and the Arizona Geological Survey, critical clearinghouses for hydrologic and geologic data.
In addition to on-campus events, several professional organizations regularly host speakers. Local chapters of the Arizona Hydrological Society and AZ Water both host monthly meetings. And, now that the CAP broadcasts its meetings and workshops from its Twin Peaks satellite facility in Marana, Tucson-area water policy professionals have an opportunity to convene and discuss statewide issues in a more intimate setting. The Southern Arizona Water Utilities Association is another forum where water providers coordinate efforts and exchange ideas, and ADWR holds Tucson AMA meetings here several times a year.
Water resource professionals often travel here from Phoenix and farther afield to present talks. For example, during a recent 3-week period, Tucsonans could hear presentations by seasoned Arizona water practitioners Rob Anderson of Fennemore Craig, Stanley Pollack of the Navajo Nation, and Chris Udall of the Agri-Business Council. Because of its proximity to the Mexican border, Tucson also houses a wealth of expertise on international and transboundary water issues.
Tucson water policy folks recognize that they will need to make the 120-mile drive to Phoenix for the foreseeable future to stay abreast of the latest issues and decisions. But make no mistake, there’s still a lot going on in the Old Pueblo for those who thirst for knowledge about water science and policy.