Arizona State University and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced Nov. 16 that the university will lead a multi-year Arizona Water Innovation Initiative to provide immediate, actionable and evidence-based solutions to ensure that Arizona will continue to thrive with a secure future water supply, according to a news release.
Ducey has committed resources and has asked ASU to work with industrial, municipal, agricultural, tribal and international partners to rapidly accelerate and deploy new approaches and technology for water conversation, augmentation, desalination, efficiency, infrastructure, and reuse.
“Since the very beginning of my administration, Arizona’s water future has been a focus and today’s announcement will advance our efforts to use every tool possible to make sure communities across the state have access to the water they need,” Ducey said in a statement. “On the heels of our historic legislation to secure our water future, ASU will serve as a force multiplier to enhance our water resiliency. Arizona has a great resource in ASU and the leadership of President Michael Crow to respond with force when called upon to advance work that serves the state. From the Central Arizona Project to the landmark Groundwater Management Act, to the Arizona Drought Contingency Plan, leaders in Arizona have looked ahead to future generations and taken action to ensure that our growing state has the water it needs to thrive.”
The funding for ASU’s water innovation initiative will serve as an extension of the goals set forth by Arizona’s plan to secure its water future.
The state of Arizona will make a $40 million dollar investment in ASU for the initiative, which will build upon and leverage the university’s successful programs in water science, technology, management and law.
“This is a critical innovation moment for water in the state of Arizona, and frankly for all seven basin states who have been sharing responsibility for creating water policy in this region for more than 100 years,” said ASU President Michael Crow in a statement. “The Arizona Water Innovation Initiative will strengthen water resilience while enhancing economic competitiveness, supporting high-value job creation, and recruiting and retaining leading industries.”
Given the pressing nature of the water challenges, the Arizona Water Innovation Initiative will be implemented rapidly, with a one-year “innovation sprint,” followed by a four-year implementation and scale-up phase. Federal partners in the initiative include the Bureau of Reclamation, the National Science Foundation, NASA; state and local partners include Arizona Department of Water Resources, Central Arizona Project, Salt River Project and the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association, and both the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University; industry partners include TSMC, Intel and SOURCE Water, an ASU spin-out company that provides safe, clean drinking water for industrial, commercial, residential and community applications.
The university-wide initiative will be led by ASU’s Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory working closely with the Fulton Schools of Engineering, the largest engineering college in the country.
The initiative will include a Global Center for Water Technology. The center will advance a full range of solutions, including:
This work would impact agricultural, municipal, and industrial sectors throughout the state. Once operational, the Global Center for Water Technology will produce tangible results – including inventions, patents and related startup companies.
The initiative will also focus on an Advanced Water Observatory and Real Time Decision Support to revolutionize water measurement, modeling and prediction. This would provide data necessary to identify critical risks, vulnerabilities and capabilities. The observatory will deploy state-of-the-art technology to fully map, monitor and model all of Arizona’s water supplies. This investment will enable ASU to partner with federal and state agencies, local water management agencies, research institutions, and the private sector to enhance water security and reduce risks of future water shortages.
The Arizona Water Innovation Initiative will take advantage of the long history of collaboration on water solutions in the state and region. University researchers will work directly with partners across government, industry, and nonprofit organizations to ensure cutting-edge research and technology are translated into real world impact.