On March 22, 2019, UA WEST and partners piloted the new Tucson Citizen Water Academy! With the event timed to celebrate World Water Day, Water Campus partners UA WEST Center, Tucson Water, and Pima County Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department (RWRD) - with great support from Arizona Project WET - provided a dynamic program of presentations, tours, and activities for students from nearby Flowing Wells High School.
The three-and-a-half hour Academy kicked off with an introductory presentation by Trevor Ledbetter, Director of the UA Office of Sustainability. The class and teachers then split into three groups for break-out sessions at one of the Water Campus partner facilities.
Tucson Water provided a tour of the Sweetwater Wetlands and explained local water supply, including potable and reclaimed distribution systems, water quality monitoring, and more. Pima County RWRD provided students with a tour of the nextdoor Agua Nueva Wastewater Reclamation Facilility, explaining steps in treatment, regulatory compliance, and wastewater's important role in the water cycle. UA WEST gave students a glimpse into water purification challenges, and ongoing research and innovations developed at the University of Arizona. The WEST group toured WEST Center labs, learning about risks from water-borne pathogens, methods for addressing emerging contaminants, and opportunities at the water-energy nexus.
After break-out sessions, students worked in groups to develop presentations about what they'd learned. Each of the three groups shared information from their experiences with peers using photos they'd taken during their tours and a social media platform (twitter).