How do Arizona communities ensure that they have sufficient water to meet their future needs? The University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center’s February 1, 2019, annual conference, Arizona Runs on Water: Scarcity, Challenges, and Community-based Solutions will examine answers to this question. Communities across Arizona are working to identify and implement solutions to water issues, both current and future.

The conference will focus on how Arizona communities are addressing their water challenges through collaboration, conservation, market-based approaches, long-term planning, and more. We are bringing together speakers from across the state to look at place-based approaches, where we will be addressing the following questions: Are there common barriers faced by communities or across water sectors? How do we build on past accomplishments to create new successes? What changes in state laws and governing policies would be helpful? One size does not fit all!

Mile Zero at Lee’s Ferry in the Grand Canyon. This photo was submitted by Aurora Berger for the 2018 Annual WRRC Photo Contest.

The conference will provide a forum for legislators and other decision-makers, water professionals, advocates, and citizens to present and discuss water resource challenges and solutions throughout the state. The program includes three framework presentations. Gerry Walker, Deputy Assistant Director at the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR), will take conference attendees on a tour of Arizona, highlighting water supply and demand conditions for various parts of the State. Rita Maguire, former Director and Chief Legal Counsel for ADWR, will provide an overview of Arizona water law, as well as some local water regulations. To close the session, Maria Dadgar, Executive Director of the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, who will provide remarks on Tribal perspectives on water resources. These three talks offer a unique opportunity to get a big-picture view of water in Arizona.

Evening time in Oak Creek Canyon, near Sedona, Arizona. This photo was submitted by John Bartholow for the 2018 Annual WRRC Photo Contest.

After the framework presentations have set the stage, Community Panels will feature 12 presentations focusing on different geographic locations throughout the state: Cochise, Graham, Yuma, Mohave, and Yavapai counties, the Gila River Indian Community, the Colorado River Indian Tribes, the Town of Payson, and the City of Flagstaff. Each presenter will focus on a water challenge or solution from their region, creating a rich palette of issues and ideas.

An Arizona Legislators Panel will include newly-elected House Speaker Russell (Rusty) Bowers, Representative Rosanna Gabaldón, former Senator and elected Representative Gail Griffin, and Senators Sine Kerr and Lisa Otondo. Moderated by WRRC Director Sharon B. Megdal, the panel discussion will reflect on the day’s presentations and the water issues and decisions facing Arizona. Our goal is to further the statewide conversation on water resource opportunities and constraints. By holding the conference early in the legislative session on a Friday in Phoenix, we hope to attract a number of legislators.

In connection with the conference, we are collecting case studies of Arizona water challenges and their solutions. The conference agenda features many geographically varied perspectives, but we know there are more out there. We invite you to complete a simple form online. We will draw on this information for conference follow-up materials that can serve as a foundation for future discussions and actions. Some of these case studies will be featured in three-minute “lightning talks” during the conference luncheon. The online form is available now and will stay up until after the conference. Anyone interested in offering a luncheon talk should complete the online form before January 11.

Each year, we are grateful to our many sponsors who enable us to keep registration prices low, offer greatly reduced student rates, and maintain the high-quality of this annual event. We continue to welcome sponsorships at a variety of levels.

Join us on Friday, February 1 for informative presentations and lively conversation at the Black Canyon Conference Center, located at 9440 N. 25th Ave., in Phoenix, Arizona. Registration for the February 1 WRRC Conference is open and you can register now for $125, with a student rate of $50. To register, click here. This registration rate will end on Friday, January 25, but you can still register onsite for $135.


From time to time, Water – Use It Wisely features guest bloggers who write about topics related to water and water conservation. The University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center (WRRC), part of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, is the designated state water resources research center established under the 1964 Federal Water Resources Research Act. The WRRC uses publications, conferences, lectures, and seminars to share water information and news with the academic community, water professionals, elected and appointed officials, students, and the public. The WRRC is also home to Arizona Project WET (Water Education for Teachers). 

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