Throughout the Western US, population growth and expanding urban areas will increase water demand even as climate changes affect supply equations. Communities may be challenged to consistently deliver sufficient water to meet demands, obtain additional supplies, and construct additional infrastructure, all while ensuring enough water for environmental needs and for cooling the urban environment. The University of Arizona is taking part in several initiatives. Including, irrigation management and desert water harvesting. The Irrigation Management program provides growers with up-to-date information on managing their irrigation systems for crop growth. This includes science-based information on crop requirements, irrigation system management and irrigation scheduling. Crop information includes usage for a variety of crops including vegetables, tree crops and traditional row crops.
Harvesting rainwater and stormwater also provides a multitude of benefits, which include cost savings, reduced flood peaks, stormwater quality management, habitat enhancement, and reduction of urban heat island effects. Efforts to incorporate harvesting into the supply and stormwater management practices have been ongoing for many years. As the benefits of harvesting are recognized, the number and diversity of individuals and agencies exploring its potential has grown, yet most of the work is performed in relative isolation with relatively little organized data and information sharing. The Water Resources Research Center within the University established the Desert Water Harvesting Initiative to enhance outreach and communication between utilities, practitioners of harvesting, academics, and interested citizens. To further this effort, the Initiative has formed the Rainwater-Stormwater Professionals Networks (RSPN) that meets semi-annually at the WRRC to keep members acquainted with current and planned activities, resources, and data. The Initiative also developed several products designed to increase the understanding and use of harvesting, especially in the arid and semi-arid Southwest.