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March 17, 2022

UArizona Experts Available for World Water Day

TUCSON, Ariz. — University of Arizona water experts are available to speak in advance of World Water Day on March 22. The theme of this year's World Water Day is "groundwater: making the invisible visible."

Found in underground aquifers, groundwater fills the pores between rocks, sand and gravel beneath our feet, making up 98% of all fresh water on Earth. Groundwater is generated by rain and snow that seeps into the ground, and it can feed into rivers, lakes, oceans and more. Groundwater is often extracted for drinking, sanitation, food production and industrial processes.

"Exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population," according to the United Nations, which established World Water Day. Each year, the U.N. selects a theme to focus attention on the organization's sustainable development goal of clean water and sanitation for all by 2030.

In 2021, UArizona was ranked No. 1 in the nation and No. 2 in the world for its water resources research program in the Shanghai Academic Ranking of World Universities. The following UArizona experts are available to speak about water.

Robert Glennon, Regents Professor in the James E. Rogers College of Law, is best known for his work in water law and policy. He advocates for a variety of reforms, including using price signals to stimulate water conservation, and market forces to bring about a reallocation of water.

Thomas Meixner, professor and head of the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, studies water in arid and semi-arid regions, particularly the American Southwest. His research interests include understanding where arid and semi-arid rivers get their water, urban hydrology in desert cities and the effect of climate change on groundwater recharge – the key process sustaining desert rivers.

Laura Condon studies large-scale water sustainability and the dynamic behavior of managed hydrologic systems in the context of past development and future climate change. Studies have demonstrated connections between groundwater depth, soil moisture, land energy fluxes and large-scale weather patterns. Yet, few have considered the effect management has on these interactions, which is where Condon focuses her research.

Ty Ferre, Distinguished Professor in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, works to improve models that support groundwater decision making. He also develops methods that use decision science to formulate groundwater models, and then uses those models to select and interpret measurements. 

Jennifer McIntosh, a professor in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, focuses her work on the history and chemical composition of groundwater and dissolved gases and the influence they have had on subsurface microbial life. Her research involves extensive field sampling, laboratory analyses and geochemical and hydrologic modeling.

Bo Guo, an assistant professor in the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, studies how emerging contaminants like PFAS move through soil and groundwater, and uses that knowledge to develop predictive computer models for improving field-scale cleanup strategies.

Raina Maier, a professor of environmental science and director of the UArizona Superfund Research Center, studies microbial ecology of stressed environments – such as mine tailings and desert soils. Related to water, she studies how microbes might be used to recover critical metals from water resources including groundwater.

Kathy Jacobs, director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions, has expertise in water policy, the use of climate information for water management, climate change adaptation and drought planning. Jacobs was a groundwater manager for the state of Arizona for 23 years and was director of the Tucson Active Management Area for 15 years. She helped design conservation, recharge and assured water supply rules for Arizona. More recently, she has focused on climate-related impacts to groundwater and surface water.

Andrea Gerlak, is the director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy. Her research examines the causes of – and innovative solutions to – some of our world's most pressing environmental challenges. She studies how to design institutions to promote adaptive, flexible policies to improve human and ecosystem well-being and produce fair and equitable decisions. She also studies how communities come together to collectively govern groundwater to sustainably manage their shared resources.

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Media contact:
Mikayla Mace Kelley
University Communications

The University of Arizona, a land-grant university with two independently accredited medical schools, is one of the nation's top 50 public universities, according to U.S. News & World Report. Established in 1885, the university is widely recognized as a student-centric university and has been designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution by the U.S. Department of Education. The university ranked in the top 20 in 2020 in research expenditures among all public universities, according to the National Science Foundation, and is a leading Research 1 institution with $761 million in annual research expenditures. The university advances the frontiers of interdisciplinary scholarship and entrepreneurial partnerships as a member of the Association of American Universities, the 66 leading public and private research universities in the U.S. It benefits the state with an estimated economic impact of $4.1 billion annually. For the latest on the University of Arizona response to the novel coronavirus, visit the university's COVID-19 webpage.

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