On Monday, Denver returns to a low-water lifestyle that many haven’t experienced in more than a decade.
The Denver Board of Water Commissioners on Wednesday declared a Stage 2 drought, with mandatory restrictions on lawn irrigation, hotel laundry, car washing and other nonessential uses.
Residents may water lawns only twice weekly. Restaurants can serve water to customers only when asked. Lodging establishments can wash sheets for long-term guests no more frequently than every four days, unless the customer makes a request.
Cars may be washed only by using a bucket or a hand-held hose equipped with an automatic shut-off nozzle. Fleet and commercial vehicles may be washed only once a week.
Water-watchers say this drought is worse than in 2002, the last time Stage 2 restrictions were enacted.
The Colorado Plateau spans northern Arizona, southern Utah, northwestern New Mexico, and southwestern Colorado. This physiographic province is well known for its striking landscapes and broad vistas—an impression that is enhanced by the view from the orbital perspective of the International Space Station. This astronaut photograph highlights part of the Utah-Arizona border region of the Plateau, and includes several prominent landforms.
The Colorado River, dammed to form Lake Powell in 1963, crosses from east to west (which is left to right here because the astronaut was looking south; north is towards the bottom of the image). The confluence of the Colorado and San Juan Rivers is also visible. Sunglint—sunlight reflected off a water surface back towards the observer—provides a silvery, mirror-like sheen to some areas of the water surfaces.
The geologic uplift of the Colorado Plateau led to rapid downcutting of rivers into the flat sedimentary bedrock, leaving spectacular erosional landforms. One such feature, The Rincon, preserves evidence of a former meander bend of the Colorado River.
“GIOS’s charter is to advance research, education, business practices and global partnerships that aid in the transformation of today’s world into a more sustainable endeavor,” said ASU President Michael Crow. “With the appointment of Gary Dirks as director of GIOS, we look to increase the global impact of our work and surge ahead as a leader in sustainability.”
Dirks was chosen for this role to help GIOS solve global sustainability challenges. Dirks is a distinguished sustainability scientist, Julie Ann Wrigley Chair of Sustainable Practices, and teaching faculty member in the School of Sustainability at ASU.
“Gary possesses exactly the combination of skills, experience and intellectual curiosity to lead the Institute,” said Julie Ann Wrigley, co-chair of the GIOS Board of Directors. “As a former global business executive, member of the GIOS Board of Directors and leader of ASU LightWorks Initiative, a better leader could not have been chosen at this point in the development of the Institute.”
While in China, Dirks grew the BP operation from 30 employees and no revenue in 1995 to more than 1,300 employees and revenues of about $4 billion in 2008.
“Gary has demonstrated his ability to set a grand vision, align projects and people around that vision to create solutions to grand challenges that impact our society,” said Sethuraman “Panch” Panchanathan, senior vice president for ASU’s Office of Knowledge Enterprise Development. “He does all of this in a rapid time frame that is consistent with the spirit of the New American University.”
As director, Gary will chair the GIOS 3-person Directorate. The Directorate oversees the Insititute’s complex, pan-university mission and consists of the director, an executive dean and the dean of the School of Sustainability.
Dirks received his doctorate in chemistry from ASU in 1980, and after working in the energy industry, returned to ASU to lead the LightWorks in 2009. The LightWorks Initiative is ASU’s multidisciplinary research effort to harness the energy of sunlight and apply it across a broad spectrum of technology related challenges. Dirks will continue to lead the initiative as part of his new role at GIOS.
Dirks previously served as chairman of the British Chamber of Commerce in Beijing and as the only foreign member of the British Prime Minister’s China Task Force. He was a founding director of the China Business Council for Sustainable Development, past chairman of the China U.S. Center for Sustainable Development and served as a board member of the India Council for Sustainable Development.
In 2003 Dirks received China’s “Friendship Award,” the highest recognition granted to foreign citizens, and was appointed Companion of the Order of St. Michael and St. George from the UK in 2005. In December 2008, he was recognized by the People’s Daily as one of the 10 most influential multinational company leaders of the last 30 years of China’s economic development.
“GIOS is an extraordinary place with people who understand sustainability at a very deep level and who know how to apply sustainability concepts to solve real-world problems,” said Dirks. “The challenge for me will be building on a very strong foundation to extend the reach and impact of the Institute.”
via Amelia Huggins, Office of Knowledge Enterprise and Development, ASU
The story of the American West is a story of water, and of our Herculean efforts to capture and spread that water across an arid landscape.
As our western cities continue to grow, however, we need to find ways to curb our thirst. In this mini-documentary, ASU researchers talk about the West’s water history, our current situation, and some social and technological options for the future.
Written, produced and edited by Kirk Davis for ASU Research.
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