Water Solutions for Our Warmer World

mountains reflecting in water

Photo: "Perfect Reflection" by Adriana Greisman, Death Valley, 2017; WRRC Photo Contest 2020

A public webinar series presented by the Arizona Institutes for Resilience, the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and the Water Resources Research Center.

Water is interwoven through every aspect of human activity, and is linked to a range of climate change impacts – droughts, intense rainstorms, floods, and sea level rise. A warmer world will bring increasing ecological, social, and economic challenges. What are the solutions? The University of Arizona, with a long history of excellence in water-related research and policy, is helping to build water-related resilience at multiple scales.

As conveners of conversations and leaders in finding innovative and collaborative solutions to the world’s most pressing water issues, the Arizona Institutes for Resilience (AIR), the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, and the Water Resources Research Center are excited to host Water Solutions for Our Warmer World, a six-part public webinar series. We invite the community to engage with us in exploring regional water-related challenges and solutions. 

This series is dedicated to the memory of Regents Professor Jim Shuttleworth, 1945-2020.

Watch the full spring series

Don't miss out on the presentations and discussions from the first three episodes of the Water Solutions for Our Warmer World series!

Watch the videos today

Fall 2021 Series

Episode 4: Drought in the Colorado River Basin

Wednesday, September 22, 2021 from 4-5:30 PM

How are important reservoir management decisions for the Colorado River Basin impacted by a decades-long drought? How will drought-related conditions factor into anticipated discussions of new management guidelines?

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Episode 5: Water and Infrastructure: Building for the Future

Wednesday, October 20, 2021 from 4 to 5:30 PM

What infrastructure solutions can work at multiple scales? What research, processes and solutions are needed to enhance resilience? What is the role of green infrastructure?

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Episode 6: Biodiversity, Water, and Climate Change in the Southwest

Wednesday, November 17, 2021 from 4 to 5:30 PM

How does climate change intersect with biodiversity in the Southwest US? What lessons can be learned about the intersections of social and ecological systems? What are the solutions for riparian and water-dependent ecosystems?

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This series is dedicated to the memory of Regents Professor Jim Shuttleworth, 1945-2020.

William James Shuttleworth was an Emeritus Regents Professor of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Arizona. “Jim,” as he was affectionately called by all those who knew him, passed away on December 20, 2020, at the age of 75.

Jim was a pioneer and leading expert in global hydrology, hydrometeorology, and climatology. At UArizona, he served as the second director of the NSF Science and Technology Center for Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA), from 2004 to 2008. He was a longtime supporter of the predecessor to the Institute of the Environment (IE), now AIR, and served as the chair of the advisory board for IE. He was a world-renowned hydroclimate expert and universally respected by his colleagues. 

Jim’s research focused on how climate change is affected by land surfaces, and he was particularly interested in the effects of global climate change caused by deforestation in the Amazon basin and desert formation in Africa. He received many international recognitions, and notably was awarded the International Hydrology Prize in 2006. Just before retiring, Jim published “Terrestrial Hydrometeorology,” widely considered to be the definitive textbook on the subject.

Read the full obituary  

Donate to the Shuttleworth Memorial Scholarship Fund

Spring 2021 Series

Episode 1: Perspectives on Regional Water Sustainability

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 from 4 to 5:30 PM

Moderated by Kathy Jacobs, Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions

How should we define water sustainability in an era of climate change, and shifts in socio-economic conditions and community priorities? What does water sustainability look like in the Colorado River basin? What are the paths forward to more inclusive solutions?

Read the summary


View the Recording

Meet the Panelists

Timothy Williams was first elected to a position on the Fort Mojave Tribal Council in 2007 and has been Chairman for 13 years.  He was a Sergeant in the US Marine Corps and is a doctoral candidate at the University of Southern California.  He has a master of legal studies from the University of Oklahoma and a bachelor’s degree in Finance and Management from NAU.  He also has an associate’s degree in Business Administration and Management from Yavapai College. 

The Reservation of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, The People by the River, is located along the Colorado River near Needles, California. The Reservation covers nearly 42,000 acres in the tri-state area of Arizona, California, and Nevada. The land is divided into three major segments: 23,669 acres in Mojave County Arizona; 12,633 acres adjacent to Needles, California; and 5,582 acres in Clark County, Nevada. The Fort Mojave Indian Tribe has rights to over 100,000 acre feet of rights to divert water from the Colorado River.

Roberto Salmón Castelo, Former Mexican Commissioner for the International Boundary and Water Commission (Comisión Internacional de Limites y Aguas, CILA), has a wide range of experience in hydraulic projects. He was Northwest Regional Manager of the National Water Commission (CONAGUA) from 2002 to 2006; from then until 2008 he served as General Manager of the Northwest Basin Unit based in Hermosillo, Sonora. He also served as Treasurer of the University of Sonora, as well as Administrative Chairman of the Department of Business Administration of the same university.

Additionally, Mr. Salmón Castelo was Planning and Special Projects Director for the Sonora Center for Research and Development in Natural Resources and has remained a partner in a variety of companies that carry out basin management projects and environmental studies. He has a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Arizona, where he also received a Master of Science degree in the same field. He is pursuing advanced studies in Water Resource Administration at the University of Arizona and is a candidate for a doctoral degree.

Sharon B. Megdal is Director of the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, Professor of Environmental Science, C.W. & Modene Neely Endowed Professor, and Distinguished Outreach Professor. Her work focuses on water policy and management, on which she writes and frequently speaks.  The geographic scope of Dr. Megdal’s applied research and engagement efforts ranges from local to international. Her long-term research focus includes comparative evaluation of water management, policy, and governance in water-scarce regions, groundwater recharge, and transboundary aquifer assessment. Engagement projects include the Indigenous Water Dialogues initiative and the Diverse Voices in Water Resources project. Dr. Megdal teaches the multi-disciplinary graduate course “Water Policy in Arizona and Semi-arid Regions”. She was named the 2020 recipient of the Warren A. Hall Medal for lifetime achievement in water resources research and education by the Universities Council on Water Resources.

Sharon Megdal’s professional service activities include serving as Board President, International Arid Lands Consortium and Board Member, American Water Resources Association. From 2009 through 2020, she was a member of the elected Board of Directors for the Central Arizona Project. Sharon holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics from Princeton University.

Haley Paul joined Audubon in May 2018. In her role as Policy Director, she works with stakeholders and decision makers in Arizona, as well as a powerful network of Audubon advocates, to advance water and natural resource policies for people and birds. During her tenure, Audubon helped advance the Drought Contingency Plan as well as legislation to promote water conservation and leave more water in rivers. In 2019, Audubon released an influential report entitled The Economic Impact of Arizona’s Rivers, Lakes, and Streams: How water-based outdoor recreation contributes to statewide and local economies. A frequent blog writer, Haley strives to explain how often-wonky and complex water policy relates to birds and the places they need. 

Prior to Audubon, Haley worked for the Town of Gilbert Water Department and led the water conservation team and conducted water resource planning and accounting. She has a M.S. in Sustainability from Arizona State University where she analyzed the Groundwater Management Act, and attended Washington State University for her undergraduate degree in Anthropology.

Kathryn served for many years as Director of Phoenix Water Services as well as Director of the City of Mesa Water Resources Department. In these roles she was responsible for the delivery of safe, clean, reliable water for millions of Arizonans, and significantly advanced the sustainable management of water resources in Arizona and the Colorado River basin. 

Kathryn earned a PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from the University of Michigan. In her position at Arizona State University, she oversees the research efforts of the Kyl Center for Water Policy, serves as a Professor of Practice at the Watts College of Public Service and Community Solutions, and contributes to the Global Futures Laboratory. 

Tim Thomure is a water professional with 21 years of work experience in the public sector, private industry, and consulting. Thomure joined the City after working for HDR Engineering, Inc. as an Area Water Operations Manager and Water Reuse Practice Lead. He holds a master’s degree in Water Resources Engineering from the University of Arizona and is a registered Professional Engineer in Arizona. During a previous stint at Tucson Water, Thomure played a key role in the Clearwater Program and the planning, design, and construction of the Central Arizona Project recharge and recovery infrastructure.

Tim is currently serving the City of Tucson’s Interim Assistant City Manager and is also pursuing a PhD in Geography in the School of Geography, Development and Environment at the University of Arizona.

Katharine Jacobs is a professor of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona and Director of the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions, focused on building adaptation and assessment capacity at multiple scales. From 2010 to 2013, Jacobs worked in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the White House. She was director of the Third National Climate Assessment, and the lead advisor on water science, policy, and adaptation. From 2006 to 2009 Jacobs was Executive Director of the Arizona Water Institute, a consortium of Arizona’s three universities focused on water sustainability. She worked 23 years for the Arizona Department of Water Resources, including 15 as the director of the Tucson Active Management Area. She was engaged in multiple aspects of implementing Arizona’s Groundwater Management Act, including development of water conservation programs and the Assured Water Supply Rules. Jacobs earned her M.L.A. in environmental planning from Berkeley.

Resources and References for Episode 1

Research studies & papers

News stories


  • Colorado River Conversations Project: Colorado River Conversations (CRC) facilitates interdisciplinary, science-based conversations to contribute ideas for future management of the Colorado, setting the stage for Guideline renegotiations. 

Episode 2: Water and COVID-19 in Indian Country

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 from 4 to 5:30 PM

Moderated by Toni Massaro, Interim Director of the Agnese Nelms Haury Program in Environment and Social Justice

How has COVID-19 exacerbated water challenges in Indian country? What are the challenges Tribes are experiencing? How are solutions and partnerships addressing these challenges?

Read the summary


View the Recording

Meet the Panelists

Jonathan Nez was born in Tuba City, Arizona and raised in Shonto, Arizona. Nez began his public service after being elected as Shonto Chapter Vice President. He was later elected to serve three terms as a Navajo Nation Council Delegate, representing the chapters of Shonto, Oljato, Tsah Bi Kin, and Navajo Mountain. He was also elected as a Navajo County Supervisor for District 1 and served two terms. In 2015, Nez was elected Navajo Nation Vice President.

President Nez is currently a doctoral student in political science and works on issues of local empowerment and mobilizing local communities of the Navajo Nation and enhancing the local sovereignty of the chapter areas. He is an alumnus of Northland Pioneer College and Northern Arizona University. He earned a bachelor's degree in political science and a master's degree in public administration from NAU.

For more information or to contact President Nez:
Visit the Navajo Nation Office of the President webpage
Email jonathannez@navajo-nsn.gov

Chairwoman Gatewood’s family is from Cibecue, AZ. She is the youngest of 11 siblings. She is of the Nilchi’lentin Clan, born for the Tse’kine Clan. When she was sworn in as Chairwoman in 2018, she was the first-ever female elected to the position, the highest office of the Tribe. She is a graduate of Show Low High School and Northern Arizona University. The White Mountain Apache Tribe includes approximately 16,000 Tribal members. The majority of the population lives in and around Whiteriver, the seat of Tribal government, with others residing in the communities of Cibecue, Carrizo, Cedar Creek, Forestdale, Hon-Dah, McNary, East Fork, and Seven Mile. The reservation consists of 1.67 million acres (over 2,600 square miles) in east-central Arizona. It ranges in elevation from 2,600 feet in the Salt River Canyon on the southwest corner of the reservation to over 11,400 feet at the top of Mount Baldy, one of our sacred peaks.

For more information or to contact Chairwoman Lee-Gatewood:
Visit the White Mountain Apache Leaders webpage
Email contactus@wmat.us or gwendena@wmat.us

Dr. Karletta Chief (Diné) is an Associate Professor and Extension Specialist in the Department of Environmental Science at the University of Arizona. As an Extension Specialist, she works to bring relevant water science to Native American communities in a culturally sensitive manner. Two of her primary tribal projects are The Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe Climate Adaptation and Traditional Knowledge Project and Gold King Mine Spill Diné Exposure Project. In partnership with Diné College, Dr. Chief leads the NSF Indigenous Food, Energy, and Water Security and Sovereignty Program and is training 26 graduate students. Indige-FEWSS’s vision is to develop a diverse workforce with intercultural awareness and expertise in sustainable food, energy, and water systems (FEWS), specifically through off grid technologies to address the lack of safe water, energy, and food security in Indigenous communities. Dr. Chief received a B.S. and M.S. in Civil and Environmental Engineering from Stanford University in 1998 and 2000 and a Ph.D. in Hydrology and Water Resources from UA in 2007.

For more information or to contact Karletta Chief:
Visit her profile with the Department of Environmental Science
Email kchief@arizona.edu

Dr. Otakuye Conroy-Ben (Oglala Lakota) is an Assistant Professor in the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment at Arizona State University (ASU). Conroy-Ben received a BS in Chemistry from the University of Notre Dame, an MA in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Arizona, and a PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on the biological effects of polluted water. Her research interests include environmental endocrine disruption, metal and antibiotic resistance in bacteria, and wastewater epidemiology. Conroy-Ben is advisor to the ASU chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES).

For more information or to contact Otakuye Conroy-Ben:
Visit her profile with the ASU Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation
Email Otakuye.Conroy@asu.edu

Crystal Tulley-Cordova (Diné) is a Principal Hydrologist in the Navajo Nation Department of Water Resources – Water Management Branch. She has worked collaboratively with Navajo Nation partners on water-related research since 2013.  Crystal hopes the knowledge and experiences she gained over the years will help her assist Navajo communities use their current knowledge about water to build sustainable water projects, seek funding for water-related research and protect and manage water resources across the Navajo Nation. She received a doctoral degree in Geology and an Interdisciplinary Graduate Certificate in Sustainability from the University of Utah. She has received a Master of Water Resources in Hydroscience and a Bachelor of Science in Earth and Planetary Sciences from the University of New Mexico. 

For more information or to contact Crystal Tulley-Cordova:
The Navajo Nation Water Management Branch webpage
Email tulley-cordova@navajo-nsn.gov

Beatrice Norton lives in the Hopi Village of Orayvi, which is one of the oldest known continuously occupied villages in the U.S. The community remains committed to traditional lifeways but has recently invested in solar energy and more local water supplies. She has worked at the Hopi Tribe Office of Aging and Adult Services, and went to Sherman Indian High School. View the photoessay on Beatrice Norton’s work related to water and COVID-19.

For more information or to contact Beatrice Norton:
Visit the Hopi Tribe Office of Aging & Adult Services webpage
Email BNorton@hopi.nsn.us

Professor Massaro has been the Milton O. Riepe Chair in Constitutional Law since 1997 and in 2006 was named a Regents Professor by the Arizona Board of Regents. From 1999 - 2009, she served as Dean of the College of Law, the first woman to hold that post. Her research is in the areas of constitutional law, with particular emphasis on freedom of expression, equality, and substantive due process. Toni M. Massaro received her B.S. degree, with the highest distinction, from Northwestern University. She obtained her law degree from the College of William and Mary, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the William and Mary Law Review. Before joining the faculty at the University of Arizona College of Law in 1989, she practiced private law and taught at Washington and Lee University, Stanford University, UNC-Chapel Hill, and the University of Florida. Toni’s interest in the Haury Program stems from her deep respect for Mrs. Haury, her desire to support her legacy, and her belief in the Program’s worthy and urgent aim of procuring a more just and environmentally secure future for generations to come. She served as the Chair of the Haury Program’s Advisory Council from 2014-2019, where she provided insights and advice to the trustees of the Haury Estate bequest.

For more information or to contact Toni Massaro:
Visit her profile on the Agnese Nelms Haury Program website
Email massaro@arizona.edu

Resources and References for Episode 2

Watch the documentary video, "Working Together for a Better Future," highlighting the collaboration of the Water Access Coordination Group.

Episode 3: The Realities of Adaptation in the Water Sector

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 from 4 to 5:30 PM

Moderated by Andrea K. Gerlak, Professor in the School of Geography, Development & Environment

How is adaptation unfolding in the water sector? What is the role of knowledge, governance and equity in adaptation? How can adaptation activities be scaled up to address the challenges ahead?

Read the summary


Watch the recording

Meet the Panelists

Governor Stephen Roe Lewis was raised in Sacaton, “Gu-u-Ki”, on the Gila River Indian Community. He currently oversees the implementation of the Community’s Water Settlement of 2004 (the largest water settlement of its kind in United States history). Governor Lewis advocates for renewable and green technologies guided by O'otham agricultural history and cultural teachings. Governor Lewis’s vision is to support a new generation of Community member agriculturalists with the goal of promoting and protecting the Community's shudag (water) and agricultural development for future generations.

Lester A. Snow, the mastermind behind countless water resources management projects, has been involved in water issues in Arizona and California, and served in both the public and private sectors and on regional, state and federal levels of government. In the timeline of his career, Snow was the general manager of the San Diego County Water Authority, the executive director of the CALFED Bay-Delta Program, a regional director of the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the director of the California Department of Water Resources, and secretary of the California Natural Resources Agency. After government work, he has served in numerous capacities including as a board member advising on restoration of the Klamath River.

Jeff Arnold works on the technical and science-policy concerns of climate change for water-resource applications. He directs the Army Engineer national climate change program and leads the agency’s integration of climate change mitigation with climate adaptation. He was formerly the interagency co-lead for adaptation within the US Global Change Research Program, and has been a lead author for national and international climate change assessments. Jeff’s work helps policy makers understand climate change impacts and characterize future uncertainties so that they can continue managing for water and energy security under conditions of uncertain future change.

Colby Pellegrino is Deputy General Manager of Resources for the Las Vegas Valley Water District and the Southern Nevada Water Authority (SNWA), which collectively serve more than 2 million residents and 40 million annual visitors in Southern Nevada. Pellegrino joined the organization in 2003 and was an instrumental part of the Water Resources division where she supported Colorado River modeling efforts to anticipate changes caused by climate change, reduced flows and other inputs. In her current capacity, Pellegrino is responsible for the management of the SNWA’s water resource portfolio, which includes protecting Nevada’s interests and rights to Colorado River water through interstate negotiations, developing regional water conservation programs, managing groundwater resources, and water resource planning. She also serves on the Board of Alliance for Water Efficiency, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the efficient and sustainable use of water and water conservation advocacy throughout North America.

Emily Wasley leads the Corporate Climate Risk and Resilience practice for WSP USA. She partners with publicly traded and privately held companies to identify, assess, manage, and report the various risks and opportunities associated with the physical risks of climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy consistent with the guidance provided by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). She also serves as a west coast Future ReadyTM Advisor for WSP USA and is the President of the American Society of Adaptation Professionals (ASAP).

Dr. Gerlak’s research examines the causes of—and innovative solutions to—some of our world’s most pressing environmental challenges, focusing in particular on water and public policy. Broadly speaking, she is interested in how we can better design institutions to promote adaptive, flexible policies to improve human and ecosystem well-being and produce fair and equitable decisions. Dr. Gerlak is also the acting director of the Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy. The Udall Center is a co-sponsor of the “Water Solutions for our Warmer World” series.


Photography credits

Episode 1: "Perfect Reflection" by Adriana Greisman, Death Valley, 2017; WRRC Photo Contest 2020
Episode 2: "Family Pandemic Adaptions" by Nikki Tulley, Navajo Nation, 2020; WRRC Photo Contest 2020
Episode 3: Photo courtesy of Pima County, Santa Cruz River near Cortaro Farms Road, 2014
Episode 4: "Arizona-Falls" by Mary Grier, Phoenix, 2011; WRRC Photo Content 2020

Episode 5: "Pipe" by Cindy Rettinger, East Verde River; WRRC Photo Contest 2020
Episode 6: "Unusual Friends" by Lori Williams, Salt River, 2020; WRRC Photo Contest 2020

Special Thanks

Technical Facilitators

Lori Emler, Arizona Institutes for Resilience
Maggie Heard, Arizona Institutes for Resilience
Amanda Leinberger, Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions
Maya Patterson, Arizona Institutes for Resilience

Supporting Organizations

Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions
The Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy
The Water Resources Research Center

The Office for Research, Innovation & Impact
The Fred Fox School of Music, courtesy of Sara Fraker
Our other UArizona partners

Audubon Arizona
League of Women Voters
Martin & McCoy
Sustainable Tucson