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Expert Interviews with DCDC Researchers


March 22, 2017

ASU KEDtalk: Charting a course for Colorado River water

We’ve portioned out more of the Colorado River’s water than it can deliver. How do we navigate the rapids of water management without capsizing under growing demand? Dave White of ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City explains how to stay afloat.


March 22, 2017

On World Water Day, an ASU team looks to enhance global availability through localized solutions

Mikala Kass from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change highlights the research on global water solutions being conducted by the Global Ethnohydrology Study, a project led by our very own co-PI Amber Wutich.

Researchers often look at how people experience water issues in their communities, but these studies are usually focused on a single region. One interdisciplinary group of researchers from Arizona State University, however, is taking a cross-cultural approach to look at water knowledge and management around the world. In the most recent phase of the Global Ethnohydrology Study, this team interviewed people from communities in the United States, New Zealand, Fiji and Bolivia to see how perceptions of water risks and solutions varied depending on the community’s level of development and water scarcity.

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March 5, 2017

Brian Sodoma in the Arizona Republic highlights the focus of water research at ASU.
ASU researchers aim to shift water dialogue away from scarcity

In the desert Southwest, the word “water” can spark serious debate, and for good reason. Lake Mead’s bathtub ring reminds us that this precious resource is limited for the seven Western states — including Arizona — that rely on the Colorado River. That visual spurs talk about extreme conservation, or tapping unused water sources like seawater in the Gulf of Mexico. At Arizona State University, however, researchers say a shift in perspective is needed. ASU researchers are not merely offering a positive take on a serious issue, but providing an honest look at better management practices, interconnectivity of industry with water supplies and a thoughtful evaluation of existing and future needs.


May 31, 2016

Here & Now’s at Arizona State University about why the lake is so low, and what happens if the level falls low enough to trigger mandatory water restrictions.

Water Level At Lake Mead, The Country’s Largest Reservoir, Is At Historic Low

Lake Mead along with Lake Powell, the two major storage reservoirs on the Colorado River system, are absolutely essential to the social, economic and environmental vitality for the entire western United States. Together, the reservoirs and the Colorado river system provide at least part of the drinking water supply to nearly 40 million people in the western United States, produce millions of megawatt hours of energy production, provide habitat for threatened and endangered species and produce a tremendous agricultural crop particularly during the winter months.

May 30, 2016

on Nestle planning a $35 million plant to bottle water in Phoenix.

What drought? Nestle plans $35 million plant to bottle water in Phoenix

If the water didn’t go into bottles it likely would go to a new subdivision, permanently increasing demand, said Dave White, a sustainability professor and director of the university’s Decision Center for a Desert City.

May 29, 2016

Sunday Square Off panelists Dave White, Sarah Porter and Kathy Ferris discuss

Why new bottled water plant won’t make a splash in Phoenix

The water experts on the “Sunday Square Off” “Water Show” say a new bottled-water plant in Phoenix won’t make a big splash in the city’s water supply. But there are other issues.

May 23, 2016

regarding the Southwest drought and its impact on Lake Mead and the Lower Colorado Basin.

How Arizona, Western States Plan To Deal With Possible Water Shortages

The Southwest drought continues, and its impact is being felt in Lake Mead. The Colorado River reservoir has shrunk to its lowest levels since the completion of Hoover Dam in 1936. The lake is only 37 percent full. They talked about what that could mean for Arizona and what some Western states are planning to do about it with Dave White, director of the Decision Center for a Desert City at Arizona State University.

March 3, 2016

share the good, the bad and the hopeful of water in the West.

Experts share the good, the bad and the hopeful at panel hosted by ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City

The Colorado River provides water for nearly 40 million people in seven western states, irrigating millions of acres of farmland, and generating thousands of megawatts of electricity. And though an official declaration of water shortage on the Colorado River has never been declared, and that careful planning has ensured Arizona and Colorado are well-supplied with water, residents need to know it’s a precious resource. That was the message Thursday as the water chieftains of Arizona and Colorado spoke before a crowd of about 100 at the Water/Climate Briefing Annual Keynote Event held by Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City.

February 18, 2016

from effective team science to drones on the range, Arizona State University faculty and students played a big role in the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS is the world’s largest science and technology society, and its annual meeting draws thousands of scientists, engineers, educators, policymakers and journalists from around the world. DCDC graduate research assistants presented their research at the AAAS student poster session on February 14, 2016.

February 17, 2016

Satellite imagery and models to help secure water resources in the arid Southwest

Arizona State University scientists Ted Bohn and Enrique Vivoni, of the School of Earth and Space Exploration, discuss a new technique in the journal Water Resources Research, which uses a combination of satellite imagery, field observations and models to estimate evapotranspiration – evaporation from soils and from plant transpiration. Evapotranspiration is an important component of the hydrological cycle and a major contributor to downwind rainfall.

February 14, 2016

Drones helping scientists to capture high-resolution images

“Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are poised to revolutionize remote sensing in the earth and environmental sciences. They let individual scientists obtain low-cost repeat imagery at high resolution and tailored to a research team’s specific interest area,” said Enrique Vivoni, hydrologist and professor at Arizona State University. Vivoni did his research in the Sonoran and Chihuahuan deserts which cover large expanses of northern Mexico and the US Southwest. Using drones in these areas allowed the scientists for improved studies on land-atmosphere exchanges and vegetation-runoff interactions.

February 8, 2016


Fostering collaboration to address water sustainability

Cities in the United States’ Western region face a higher demand for water as populations grow and drought diminishes supply. That’s why the mayors of several Western cities recently agreed to work together on water sustainability and climate-change adaptation. “As they like to say, mayors have to get stuff done. They are problem solvers with very immediate constituencies,” said Dave White, director of Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City, a research unit of the Global Institute of Sustainability and Innovation.

February 5, 2016

Drones give scientists a new self-service approach

Thanks to the increased affordability and dramatic technological advances of drones, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), however, earth and environmental scientists can now conduct their own long-term high-resolution experiments at a fraction of the cost of using aircraft or satellites. “UAVs are poised to revolutionize remote sensing in the earth and environmental sciences,” says Enrique Vivoni, hydrologist and professor at Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration and Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. “They let individual scientists obtain low-cost repeat imagery at high resolution and tailored to a research team’s specific interest area.”

January 20, 2016

Western mayors call for cooperation on water problems, solutions

The meeting, called by Stanton as part of the annual U.S. Conference of Mayors convention here, drew mayors from Mesa, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Aurora, Colorado. It came against a backdrop of California’s historic drought, and on the same day that NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that 2015 was the hottest year on record.

January 13, 2016

. One of the issues Governor Doug Ducey brought up in his State of the State address is water. He wants to look for new, long term water sources for the state. He also has given the state Department of Water Resources the go-ahead to use existing dollars to hire new staff. Dave White, co-director of Decision Center for a Desert City at Arizona State University, spoke about Ducey’s comments.

January 21, 2016

Sara Weber from Cronkite News reports on the in Washington, DC.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton to California: Let’s work together on water

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton had a message for the group of Western mayors gathered in the nation’s capital Wednesday to talk about water resources: It’s time to work together. The group later considered a list of principles from Stanton and Dave White, the director of Arizona State University’s Decision Center for the Desert City, that the two said would help each city implement water-conservation solutions. The list centered on educating constituents on individual water use through data and technology, while fostering a “conservation culture” among future generations.


December 16, 2015

A Future Scope interview with France Córdova, director of the National Science Foundation

In February 2015, Dave White had the opportunity to meet with Director Cordova and present to her WaterSim in the Decision Theater (). In The Economist interview, she cites DCDC as an example of “Big data analysis combined with behavioral analytics helps researchers analyze climatic uncertainties, urban-system dynamics and adaptation decisions.”

December 20, 2015


Beyond the drought: How does Arizona grow from here?

This article in the Arizona Republic is based in part on interviews with DCDC researchers Dave White, Ray Quay and David Sampson. The article specifically discusses research reported in an article led by Pat Gober and published in the Geological Society of London in 2014. This is another example of how our research affects the public and policy discourse.

October 28, 2015

Is Phoenix area’s long love affair with grass waning?

Unlike in California – where some residents have taken home $3.75 per square foot to lose their grass – Valley rebates often don’t cover the full cost, said Kelli Larson, an associate professor who studies water policy and land management at Arizona State University.

October 8, 2015

Metro Phoenix Cities Encourage Homeowners To Scrap The Lawn, But Is It Worth It?

Forget dried up reservoirs or fallow fields. The dying lawn persists as one of the most potent cultural symbols of water scarcity in the Southwest. Typically, more than half of a household’s water in Phoenix goes to its grass.

September 24, 2015

WaterSim Tool May Help More Cities Manage Water

As uncertainty about water access in the West increases, the Decision Center for a Desert City at Arizona State University is connecting policymakers with research to make better resource management decisions for the future.

September 10, 2015

How to stake your place in line for California’s precious water

“The first large-scale use of water in California was for mining,” says U.C. Berkeley Professor of Environmental and Resource Economics, Michael Hanemann. Hanemann is writing a book on California’s water rights – and how this paper-to-tree system took hold. When miners showed up in California in 1849, they looked for gold in streams and rivers. And they posted dated notices near the places they were looking to call dibs.

August 31, 2015

ASU Decision Center Lands $4.5M Grant to Help Colorado River Basin Cities

“We’ve been focused on central Arizona and Phoenix over the last decade and we’ve developed strategies and solutions that have been useful for water management under climate adaptation here in this city, and we feel may be useful in other cities,” said Dave White, DCDC director.

August 27, 2015


Can empathy lead to better decisions in water usage?

An Arizona State University team has received a three-year grant to study how people collaborate – or not – on the complex decision of who gets how much water, and how using technology might affect their reactions.

August 25, 2015


NSF award will expand scope, impact of ASU water research

Water managers and decision makers of cities of the Colorado River Basin will be able to take greater advantage of Arizona State University’s Decision Center for a Desert City thanks to a new $4.5 million National Science Foundation award.

August 20, 2015

Edward Saltzberg, from the Security and Sustainability Forum, and Dave White discuss drought in the southwest United States.

Drought in the SW United States – Water Policy Past, Present and Future

This Security and Sustainability Forum webinar focused primarily on California as a harbinger for other regions of the United States and the globe. It specifically examined the water policies of the past, present and future, and their impact on water supply for agriculture and society overall.

June 15, 2015


Using foresight to tackle ‘wicked problems’

By connecting decision makers across disciplines and developing tools to navigate complex issues, the Foresight Initiative is building a foundation for addressing the increasingly “wicked” nature of our global challenges and educating the leaders who will rise to meet these challenges.

June 11, 2015


Planetary Agriculture

An interesting discussion about cities, food production, and the future of agriculture globally. Read more from Kevin Pollock.

April 17, 2015


ASU scientist addresses Arizona water security in wake of California reductions

An executive order for water use reductions issued by California Gov. Jerry Brown has many Arizonans questioning our own water future.

April 15, 2015


From Sink to Garden: Gray Water Systems Catching on in Tucson

The gray water system at Reid Park Zoo’s Learning Conservation Center complements a catchment system through which rain that hits the roof is used in its toilets, reducing the use of potable water inside by about half. Both systems tie into the zoo’s overall conservation efforts, said Vivian VanPeenen, a zoo spokeswoman.

April 15, 2015


What Impact California’s Water Shortage Has On Arizona

A little more than a week ago, California Governor Jerry Brown announced the state needed to make major cutbacks in water usage to deal with the effects of drought. Former director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, Rita Maguire and Dave White talked about how that could impact Arizona and whether we are on the verge of having to cut back on how much water we use.

April 6, 2015


California’s severe water shortage and Arizona’s forward-thinking water management. Interview at 10:05-16:34 time signature.

January 13, 2015

ASU hydrologist named Leopold Leadership Fellow

For his scholarship in the area of shared water resources, ASU hydrologist Enrique Vivoni has been awarded a 2015 Leopold Leadership Fellowship.


December 13, 2014


Arizona farmers take hit to stave off water crisis

Under a new agreement, Arizona agencies will work with Nevada, California and the federal government to store water in Lake Mead. Residential users in Arizona are not expected to be affected by the reductions. No one knows exactly how a shortage would play out, but Arizona will be the first to face cuts based on its junior priority to California. Reductions would hit farmers before cities like Phoenix that depend on the Colorado River supply.

November 30, 2014

Arizona Water Supply: How Worried Should You Be?

Amid a depleted water supply and a historic drought, will Arizona run short of water?

Can Arizona Create Water: Why big ideas might not work

The water forecasters say Arizona’s water supply will run short of demand in the near future. The ‘Sunday Square Off’ panel debates whether the big ideas to create more water would really work.

Arizona Water Challenge: Myths, reality of how to conserve.

The Sunday Square Off panel debate the myths and reality of how to conserve water in an era when supply won’t meet future demand.


November 20, 2014


The Role of Irrigation in Arizona

This week, Phoenix has been the host city for the Water Resource and Irrigation Conference. Irrigation has been a method for bringing water to Valley homes for decades. But in a desert made even drier by a near-historic drought, how much of role should irrigation still be playing? We asked Ray Quay of ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City.

October 30, 2014

University access or subscription required.

Parched Cities Share Water in the West

A recent agreement by this city and Tucson, Ariz., highlights a growing trend in the drought-plagued Southwest: water agencies sharing resources to stretch limited supplies rather than going it alone. Phoenix, which gets more water than it can store from the Colorado River, has agreed to send some of its surplus to Tucson, which needs it to lower pumping costs. In return, Tucson will give up part of its share of Colorado River water to Phoenix when needed. The deal finalized in early October comes despite long-standing rivalries between Arizona’s two largest cities.

October 21, 2014

Sustainability: Phoenix-Tucson Water Agreement

Phoenix and Tucson have entered an agreement for Phoenix to store its excess Colorado River water in Tucson. The agreement is of mutual benefit to both cities. Arizona State University associate professor Dave White, who heads the Decision Center for a Desert City and studies water management decisions, will discuss the agreement.

October 20, 2014

California’s drought: Getting grimmer, say experts

The fact that the drought is nowhere near ending means the hard times will only get worse, said Michael Hanemann, an environmental economist at Arizona State University.

October 3, 2014

Phoenix And Tucson Make Innovative Water Conservation Deal

A new water agreement between Phoenix and Tucson could lead to similar arrangements between other Western cities, in response to drought conditions. Sustainability Scientist Dave White, who is Co-Director of ASU’s Decision Center for a Desert City, told us uncommon collaborations will be vital in the future.

January 7, 2014

Arizona water shortage forecast for next year

Arizona water experts says the state could face water rationing as soon as 2015 as a historic drought drains the Valley’s primary source of water, Lake Mead. But the state’s water management agency says homeowners wouldn’t be affect by rationing.


October 15, 2013

What will the future hold for Glen Canyon Dam?

Activists are still hoping to see dam demolished, lake drained in hopes of restoring majestic canyon.

June 16, 2013

An Arid Arizona City Manages Its Thirst

The hiss of sprinklers serenades improbably green neighborhoods early in the morning and late at night, the moisture guarding against the oppressive heat. This is the time of year when temperatures soar, water consumption spikes and water bills skyrocket in this city, particularly for those whose idea of desert living includes cultivating a healthy expanse of grass.


May 3, 2012

Pete Zrioka of ASU Research Matters interviews Dave White

The desert Southwest: oasis or mirage?

The American West has a drinking problem. On farms and in cities, we are guzzling water at an alarming rate. Scientists say that to live sustainably, we should use no more than 40 percent of the water from the Colorado River Basin. As it is now, we use 76 percent, nearly double the sustainable benchmark.