Charitable Trust Awards $73,000 to WRRC for Arizona Water Needs Assessment

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust is funding a one-year, statewide assessment of environmental water needs being conducted by the University of Arizona's Water Resources Research Center (WRRC).

The $73,000 support will allow the WRRC to compile preliminary statewide data and existing research that will provide information important for future water management planning in Arizona. The project is scheduled to begin in January.

"Arizona is one of only a few western states without a statewide water plan," said Dr. Sharon B. Megdal, director of the WRRC and the project lead. "Ultimately, the assessment will improve public awareness about environmental water needs and facilitate next steps in state water planning that recognizes the environment as a water-using sector."

This is the UA's first-ever award from the Trust, which allocated $1,190,886 in funding to 22 Arizona nonprofit organizations on Nov. 19.

"Nina Pulliam cared deeply about Arizona's unique landscape and the delicate balance of our state^Ys natural resources," said Carol Peden Schilling, a Trustee for the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust and niece to Nina Pulliam.  "During her lifetime, Nina was particularly concerned about how Arizona's human population growth, that began escalating during her lifetime, impacted the state's wildlife and the environment we collectively share. She would be so pleased to know her Trust is supporting the University's important work which will provide the foundation for important conservation efforts of the state's vital resources."

The goal of the WRRC's research is to increase awareness and understanding of environmental water needs in Arizona on the part of water professionals, policymakers and the public. Researchers will compile and synthesize existing information about the water needed for preserving and, in some cases, restoring riparian areas in Arizona, increasing our collective ability to conserve, preserve and, possibly, restore habitat.  

The results will complement existing data on human water demands published in the Arizona Department of Water Resources' Water Atlas, and information collected will be published in a guidebook at the end of the assessment to clearly convey the science to key decision makers.

A number of Arizona conservation and water professionals will make up the advisory committee for this project.

The Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust has awarded more than $84 million to 379 Arizona nonprofit organizations since 1998. The Trust supports a variety of projects focused on helping people, sustaining the environment and enriching communities. 

The WRRC is a research and extension unit of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. It promotes understanding of critical state and regional water management and policy issues through research, community outreach and public education.

The UA Foundation is one of the largest foundations in Arizona, raising more than $100 million annually. Managing an asset base of nearly $500 million, the UA Foundation has helped generate more than $2 billion in private funding to support the University of Arizona.

For more about the WRRC, see the link below. Sharon Megdal was recently named to a Blue Ribbon Panel on Water Sustainability, formed with commitment from the Governor of Arizona, to provide advice to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Arizona Department of Environmental Quality and the Arizona Corporation Commission "on the technical, legal and policy aspects of promoting recycling of wastewater, graywater, industrial process water, and stormwater." The panel will provide input on "increasing wastewater reuse throughout the state." 

Contact name: 
Sharon Megdal, Water Resources Research Center
Contact email:
Released date: 
Dec 23 2009