Basics of Water Resources and Supply

Pam Boedeker

SaddleBrooke Nature Club began a four-part series of lectures on our water supply.

The first speaker was Bruce Hale. Bruce is a SaddleBrooke resident who has extensive experience with water supply and resources. Bruce has degrees in both biology and chemistry. He has an Associate degree in digital electronics and a Masters in Computer Science. Bruce has supported water quality data needs for engineers, water system operators, water planners, hydrologists, environmentalists, and lawyers.

Bruce began his talk with the Yin and Yang of water identifying the two components as Water Quality and Water Quantity. To identify water quality, it’s use must first be established. What is good quality water for one purpose may not be good quality water for another purpose.

There are many jobs in the water industry:

* Scientists such as hydrologists, chemists, and biologists

* Information Technologists

* Engineers who deal with transmission, storage, and treatment

* Water Operators who deal with water treatment, water collection, and distribution

* Water Planners

* Water Lawyers

Large water districts usually have all of the above people on staff.

There are also jobs in the business aspect of water such as finance, supply, customer service, and human relations.

Of course, there are also political and regulatory components of the water industry.

Each of these people involved in the water industry are stewards of our water as an environmental resource, economic resource, and a public health resource. Water is both a commodity and a resource.

The vast majority of the earth’s water is in the oceans. Only a small fraction of water (found in glaciers) is fresh.

In Arizona our water is

* 40% ground water

* 36% Colorado River water

* 3% reclaimed water

* 21% in-state rivers including the Little Colorado and Gila Salt River

Bruce went back to the science class basic of the water cycle we’ve all seen with the circle of precipitation, the run-off, or evaporation.

There were various water terms Bruce explained. These terms will come up repeatedly in our next three lectures.

Renewable: The legal definition of renewable water is that it can be replaced in our lifetime.


* Aquifer (confined and unconfined)

* Surface Water

* Ground Water

Bruce also touched on the ongoing discussion involving Water Rights and the laws regarding who owns the water. Many of the laws here in Arizona were written in the 1800s when the population was small and water resources vast.

SaddleBrooke is affected by the Ground Water Regulations of the 1980s.

Governor Bruce Babbit was involved then and has been vocal about the need to update those laws.

We will hear much more about this in upcoming lectures.

We will hear from Sharon Megdal, U of A Director of Arizona Water Resources Research Center.

Speaker Howard Block, a Hydrologist, will provide an overview of how water is naturally recharged into the subsurface and how aquifers (such as SaddleBrooke) function.

Finally, a Robson representative will talk about how water moves through SaddleBrooke.

SaddleBrooke Nature Club meets virtually until COVID regulations change.