"Collaborating with the University of Arizona (UA) is a very good approach to really learning about water issues," according to Dan Quintanar, project manager for Tucson Water.
Quintanar has worked closely with UACE since 1999, starting with a public outreach program when water from the Central Arizona Project was introduced. Tucson Water needed "to provide real-time information on the quality of water we serve," he said. This meant gathering detailed data and making it readily accessible to the public online 24/7.
"We serve 3.5 billion gallons of water a year," Quintanar said. "That's a lot of water." The service area spans 375 square miles and includes more than 200 wells. "We have 23 online stations taking measurements and feeding data every 60 seconds," he said.
That system is one result of collaboration with the UA.
Tucson Water is a member of the University of Arizona Water and Environmental Technology (WET) Center where research is conducted on all aspects of water. "They work with us to create projects and studies," he said. Everyone benefits. University of Arizona students gain real-world experience and have completed theses and dissertations researching Tucson Water issues. "It's our problem they're trying to solve. They use our equipment. They know our system. It's very cost effective."
A bonus of collaborating with the UA is having other people talking about and reporting on Tucson Water. "It's third-party validation," Quintanar said. "It builds the community's confidence" in their water supply.