Because we're here for Arizona.
I'm a third generation Arizonan, and I really care about this state.
Last year, I returned to the UA to pursue a doctorate in arid lands resource sciences-examining the economic, ecological and social factors that dictate water management in climates like ours. Since July, I've been working at the Water Resources Research Center where we're trying to forge new pathways in the way we think about this finite resource. We need to work now to protect our future.
My job, which is funded by the Nina Mason Pulliam Charitable Trust, is to work with water managers and other stakeholders throughout the state to help build consensus on how to incorporate water needs of the environment into water planning. Water managers generally plan for three demand sectors-municipal, industrial and agricultural-but rarely is the environment considered. Our goal is to increase awareness through conversations, and then work toward connecting the environment to water planning efforts. We've taken the natural environment of this state for granted for a long time, and we can't do that forever.
The process of change will be gradual, but we have three years to make a difference. Then we may be able to help with similar management efforts around the world. Arid lands are going to be among the areas most affected by climate change, and they are also where a huge percentage of the human population lives.
The Arizona I grew up in has a rich and amazing environment. I have two young daughters, and I want them to live and raise families here, too. Working in water is my personal way of ensuring the Arizona of the future is as fabulous, if not more fabulous, than the Arizona of the past.
This essay was originally featured in the UA Foundation's 2011 Annual and Endowment Report.
The University of Arizona Foundation is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to advancing the University of Arizona. Managing an existing asset base of more than $600 million, the UA Foundation has helped generate more than $2 billion in private funding to support the University.