Beyond the Mirage

Creating solutions for state and national water preservation issues

University Relations – Communications, Jacob Chinn photo

As the biggest and most comprehensive water campus in the world, the UA is discovering solutions for the state of Arizona and for arid and semi-arid regions that make up about 40 percent of the Earth’s landmass.

Water is arguably the most valuable resource in the Southwest. California is facing record-breaking heat and drought, adding to its already shrinking reservoirs, and nearly 70 percent of Arizona is classified as being in a state of severe drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor website.

With only 12 inches of rain on average per year according to U.S. Climate Data, and most of those 12 inches falling during monsoons, UA scientists across campus are working together to create solutions for water use and conservation for Arizona and the world.

Beyond the Mirage is one UA collaborative effort designed to raise awareness and understanding about water issues in Arizona. They recently were awarded the New Arizona Prize: Water Consciousness Challenge, receiving the competition’s $100,000 grand prize.

One area of focus includes water availability from the Colorado River and examining best ways to conserve and use its waters. The Colorado and its tributaries provide water to nearly 40 million people for municipal use and supply water to irrigate nearly 5.5 million acres of land. It is the lifeblood for at least 22 federally recognized tribes, seven national wildlife refuges, four national recreation areas, and 11 national parks.

Beyond the Mirage will use the award to launch innovative web and social media strategies to engage Arizonans, who will create and share their own mini-documentaries. With the help of Arizona Public Media, the hundreds of clips that cover all facets of Arizona’s water story can also find homes throughout the news media and on major educational sites such as PBS Learning Media.