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August 20, 2013

Host: Ted Simons

Colorado River System Reservoirs

  |   Video
  • Lower water levels in Lake Mead are expected to trigger a water shortage for 2016. If there is a Colorado River shortage then, no direct impact is expected for cities, residential water users, and Native American Indian Tribes served by the Central Arizona Project. Sandra Fabritz Whitney, Director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and David Modeer, General Manager of the CAP, will discuss the possible water shortage.
  • Sandra Fabritz-Whitney - Director, Arizona Department of Water Resources
  • David Modeer - General Manager, CAP
Category: Environment   |   Keywords: water, shortage, colorado river, reservoirs,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The worst drought in a century could lead to lower releases of Colorado River water by 2016. What does that mean for the state's residential and agricultural water needs? We asked Sandy Fabritz-Whitney, director of the Arizona Department of Water Resources, and David Modeer, general manager of the Central Arizona Project. Good to see you both again, thanks for joining us. What are the water levels right now at Lake Powell?

Sandy Fabritz-Whitney: Lake Powell is just about 30 feet above the trigger level that would require the Bureau of Reclamation to lower the release. It’s based on the anticipated levels later in the year. So based on those levels the water level elevation -- 3,575 -- is the key trigger. Based on that it determines how much water you're going to release out of Lake Powell to Lake Mead.

Ted Simons: How much water -- just a general overview here, if it's 45-some-odd percent full right now, what kind of water releases are we talking about?

David Modeer: The normal criteria is 8.23 million acre-foot is released out of Powell down to Lake Mead, unless there’s flood levels or unless we’re going into what Sandy just talked about. Then they’ll reduce it. The projected is at about 7.48 million acre-foot will be released this next water year because of the shortage of inflows into Lake Powell.

Ted Simons: And this would be, I read, the lowest release since the lake was first filled?

David Modeer: Correct.

Ted Simons: That’s got to be a concern.

Sandy Fabritz-Whitney: Of course it’s a concern, but it's something that we have been planning for for many years. The state of Arizona and the other basin states, the Colorado River basin states, have different -- obviously we have different approaches in how we manage our water supplies but we also have been working within our state, working with our partners at CAP and at Salt River Project, our water users across the state in preparing for lower releases.

Ted Simons: What would the impact be to cities and towns?

Sandy Fabritz-Whitney: The interesting thing is the first 7.48 reduction or reduction to 7.48 really doesn't trigger a shortage. The Lake Mead elevation is also part of this operational structure on the river. That operational structure when Lake Mead hits an elevation of 1,075 is when the states, the lower basin states and Mexico start having to reduce their water use.

Ted Simons: When reductions coming out of Lake Powell into Lake Mead, when these happen, is there a priority? Is there a list of folks who are affected?

David Modeer: There's two levels. One of them is, what's the priority between the states. Due to Arizona's junior priority the Central Arizona Project takes the brunt of any shortage when it’s declared. Within the state of Arizona, Arizona Department of Water Resources and all the stakeholders in CAP have reached agreement about the priorities of who gets reduced first. The first stage really comes out of the excess water supplies and buried within that is non-Indian agriculture, although we realize the importance of Ag to Arizona and water policy that we'll be working with all the stakeholders, with Sandy and her department to try to find unique ways to make sure that no particular entity gets hurt overly in this first area of shortage.

Ted Simons: So agriculture would be first. What about urban areas?

David Modeer: They have the highest priority of CAP water. They will be the last impacted. It likely would not happen until near the tail ends of a third stage of the shortage when they would be impacted and to a smaller degree. As Sandy said, we have done a lot of planning. We have a lot of water stored in the ground in order to anticipate this was going to happen. This all goes back to the compromises made to construct CAP we had to agree to be the junior priority user of water. Because of that, we have been planning as a state, our congressional delegation and the federal government and Sandy's department over the years have been doing many, many things knowing that someday we were going to experience a shortage and we would take the brunt of it.

Ted Simons: What about power production? That has to be concerned as well or is it?

Sandy Fabritz-Whitney: We have heard or seen many stories on that. It's all in how you manage and operate the reservoir, especially Lake Powell. There are trigger levels. I don't have those with me right now but we're not near those levels for power production.

Ted Simons: I read where the Southern Nevada Water Authority, the chief, said that this is serious business. Federal disaster aid is needed. We have hit a crisis point. I'm not sensing crisis here. What's going on?

Sandy Fabritz-Whitney: It goes back to how each state sort of responds to these things. We have had decades to respond since the mid 60's even going back that far when the Central Arizona Project was authorized then moving forward in time the Groundwater Management Act, that act put in place mandatory water conservation for all water users. Many of those were already implementing those measures. But that required mandatory water reductions already, so more efficiency. You add on top of that the additional requirements for conserving ground water through the 100 years water supply rules and the ability to augment those water supplies through underground storage and recovery and through the Water Banking Authority. We have stored in this state over 8 million acre-feet. We have extra water stored in the aquifer to protect folks against shortage, in addition to preserving the ground water supplies long term.

Ted Simons: Last question: the plans in place -- obviously there's confidence at this desk that things will be okay. But we had a 100-year drought here, the worst 14-year period in the last 100 years. Are there plans if X turns into X-squared?

David Modeer: I think we are developing plans is what I would say right now. The concerns of southern Nevada are different than ours. Their circumstances are a bit different. They don't have agriculture that offsets things or places to store a lot of water. So if the drought continues and we get down to much lower levels, it's a real concern for all of us. As a result of that, we are working together, the three lower basin states, very cooperatively, along with the upper basin. There’s a role for the upper basin to play in managing this drought. I believe we will. We have shown a capacity to work together, come up with some compromises to fend off this drought for a period of time. No one knows how long it's going to last or how deep it's going to get.

Ted Simons: Thank you both for being here. We appreciate it.

David Modeer: Thank you for having us.

Sandy Fabritz-Whitney: Thank you.

Focus on Sustainability: Urban Heat Island Mitigation

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  • Buildings, roads, parking lots and other man-made structures have caused the average nighttime temperatures in the Phoenix Area to increase dramatically. Mick Dalrymple, Arizona State University’s Energize Phoenix Project Manager, has a plan to reduce nighttime temperatures by one degree. Dalrymple will discuss his plans.
  • Mick Dalrymple - Project Manager, Arizona State University’s Energize Phoenix
Category: Sustainability   |   Keywords: temperature, heat, phoenix,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Buildings, roads, parking lots and other man-made structures have caused nighttime temperatures in the Valley to increase dramatically. Mick Dalrymple is ASU’s Energize Phoenix project manager and he has a plan to reduce those nighttime temperatures. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon."

Mick Dalrymple: Thank you very much.

Ted Simons: The plan is called One Degree.

Mick Dalrymple: Yes. One Degree, just to keep it simple. It's a very easy idea. Very complicated to undertake, but actually very easy to conceptualize, that over a period of five years through a series of actions we would reduce the overnight low temperature in downtown Phoenix by one degree.

Ted Simons: What would those series of actions entail?

Mick Dalrymple: They would involve a lot of community action, changes in city policy, changes in city operations. But basically the three things that you want to do to try to reduce urban heat island is first keep the sun off of hot surfaces. So put up shade structures. They can be solar shade structures, trees, canopies, anything over buildings or streets or parking areas. The second thing is if you can't shade it, if you can't keep the sun off of it, try to have your surface be more reflective so it sends that heat back instead of absorbing it. If you can't do that, then you want to try to use materials that hold less heat. They shed heat faster. So we call it emissivity. Use permeable concrete or rubberized asphalt instead of asphalt because it has more surface area, it’s rubberized, so it doesn't absorb as much heat or hold on to it. Things like concrete tiles on roofs. They don't make any sense. It's the roof that keeps on giving. Three, four, five hours after sunset it's still heating up your house.

Ted Simons: When we talk about the urban heat island, without getting into too much detail, that is the problem. During the day with the sun beating down it absorbs the heat. Then when the sun goes away -- you go outside some nights and it seems like it was cooler when the sun was setting than it is two hours later.

Mick Dalrymple: Yeah. It's amazing. Going into a parking lot after sunset you just feel this heat just coming up towards you. We have a tremendous am of parking lots and streets in Phoenix. We're a low-density place. You could do amazing things just by in the regular chip-seal process where a street is recoated if the city were to just increase the reflectivity of that coating by 10%, then over a period of five years you could essentially decrease the amount of heat absorbed tremendously in the city.

Ted Simons: How do you go from a plan to achievement?

Mick Dalrymple: It's really about partnerships, and Energize Phoenix has taught us a lot about partnerships. That was a partnership between APS, the city of Phoenix and ASU. You need those partnerships. So basically the city needs to take the lead. City leaders, city managers need to come together from multiple departments there are streets involved, parks and recreation, public works. Water is involved, the energy manager is involved. Then you need to get the community groups on board as well. I think that's the beauty of one degree is it's a really easy concept to sell. Everyone can get behind that. The benefits are huge. There's economic benefits, tourism benefits. You lengthen the convention season here. So we have actually calculated within the Energize Phoenix corridor if you were do to this, you would decrease electric bills for corridor businesses and residents by $2.1 million a year.

Ted Simons: And health benefits as well, that has to be factored in as well.

Mick Dalrymple: Yes. ASU has actually done a tremendous amount of research on urban heat island. Some of it is related to the inequity of the heat island impacts. The elderly, the sick, the homeless. Poor people. They have less tools to deal with urban heat island so they suffer more and there's more hospital visits.

Ted Simons: I was interested reading about this in Sacramento 50% of parking lots in Sacramento must be shaded by trees. New York and Chicago have programs, variety levels of Green. The fact is some municipalities are tackling this sort of thing.

Mick Dalrymple: They are. What's amazing is Phoenix is for a variety of reasons historically the most studied city regarding urban heat island. We know more here or from the city of Phoenix than a lot of these places do. They are taking some proactive approaches. Common sense. People with businesses tend to put on cool roofs. We already do that. It wouldn't be much a stretch to say, if you redo your roof you have to do it as a cool roof. There are a lot of things we can do. This is the laboratory right here. If we can change things here, that would be fantastic.

Ted Simons: With that in mind, last question, the psychological impact of just tackling the urban heat island is a factor.

Mick Dalrymple: Yes. I'm actually going to be starting to work for the Rob and Melanie Walton Sustainability Solutions Institute and the Global Institute of Sustainability. That's some of the things we're trying to do is take that science and apply it to solve real problems. We're going to be looking at things like this.

Ted Simons: Fascinating. If you can get even one degree that's somewhere. That's something.

Mick Dalrymple: It's a psychological boost that we could do something about climate change as well.

Ted Simons: Good to have you here.

Mick Dalrymple: Thank you.

MCSO Racial Profiling

  |   Video
  • Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio has refused to have a monitor watch his department after a judge rules that the sheriff’s office engaged in racial profiling. Negotiations continue on that issue. Arizona Republic reporter JJ Hensley brings us up to date.
  • JJ Hensley - Reporter, Arizona Republic
Category: Community   |   Keywords: joe arpaio, racial, profiling, ruling,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening. Welcome to "Arizona Horizon." I’m Ted Simons. Maricopa County Joe Arpaio is resisting the idea of a monitor to oversee his department and ensure that the MCSO stops engaging in racial profiling. Here to update efforts to resolve the issue is JJ Hensley, who covers the sheriff's office for the Arizona Republic. Good to see you again. Thank you for joining us.

JJ Hensley: Good to see you.

Ted Simons: Let's set the parameters here. A joint agreement on a court ruling involving the ACLU.

JJ Hensley: Yes. The judge ordered them to kind of take a break and negotiate, which is what they have been doing for the last six, eight weeks. These are pretty common in these types of lawsuits when they are trying to resolve them. The point is, “you, high-priced lawyers, go off, do your thing, try to resolve as many of these issues as possible, and bring whatever you can’t back to me and I'll make a decision if need be.”

Ted Simons: And one of those issues, really the biggie, because we know how the sheriff feels about this, this court-appointed monitor. What are we talking about here?

JJ Hensley: At some point it's going to -- it's become quite obvious that one is going to be appointed. I think anyone looking at this might well say that the sheriff is dragging his feet on this. It's inevitable that we're going to have one. The real question is what power that monitor will have and how the judge is going to have to tailor that monitor's powers so they don't override the sheriff's constitutional powers.

Ted Simons: Is the sheriff’s office, or the attorneys for the sheriff’s office, are they basically saying, “We’re more concerned about the powers”? Or are they still saying, “There should be no court-appointed monitor”?

JJ Hensley: They are adamant that they do not want a court-appointed monitor, but they understand, I think, that there's going to be one. So the real discussion is what kind of powers is that monitor going to have and is he going to be able to tell Arpaio, “no, you can't do this, yes, you can do that.” The ACLU would like that monitor to be able to preempt operations before they happen. The sheriff's office doesn't see that as being appropriate at all.

Ted Simons: Just to be clear, the joint agreement: the sheriff's office did agree to this, did they not? Didn’t they agree to the court? They didn’t like it, but they agreed. What are they arguing about?

JJ Hensley: It's part of the verdict -- well, verdict -- the ruling in the ACLU's favor from Judge Snow. So yes, they agreed to negotiate in good faith. Both sides say that's what's been going on for the last six, eight weeks. They really came down to eleven core issues that they just could not come to an agreement on. Some of it, the devil’s in the details. Some of it is broad. “We will never agree to this” is what the sheriff’s office is saying.

Ted Simons: Let’s talk about some of the other disagreements. We have already mentioned the court-appointed monitor. Racial profiling training for deputies, problem there?

JJ Hensley: That's more of a detail-oriented issue. How much training are they going to have in person? How much is going to be online? How frequent is that going to be through the course of the year? The sheriff's office says these guys are in mandated training X amount of hours a year. If we keep adding to that it will be hard for them to be on patrol. That's a detail-oriented issue. Some of the others that are more significant are the role of community involvement in this. Or the ACLU wants to kind of overhaul or have oversight of the sheriff's internal discipline system. Those issues according to the sheriff's office are beyond the scope of this court ruling.

Ted Simons: The ACLU wants internal investigation changes. They want the monitor -- internal investigations, that's pretty deep involvement there.

JJ Hensley: Yes. The ACLU's point is, you know, if you remember back to last summer with that trial it was tightly managed. Each side only had 20 hours to present their case in chief. Each side had to tailor its witnesses accordingly. The ACLU couldn't put up people who tried to make complaints and had them go nowhere. Even the few witnesses they were able to put up when they talked about the complaint process they tried to make complaints about deputies profiling them and they said the complaints went nowhere. Clearly in the ACLU's mind there's need for overhaul in that system.

Ted Simons: And that’s one of the ones where the sheriff’s department is basically saying, “no way, no how”.

JJ Hensley: “Hands off; this is not part of the litigation.”

Ted Simons: You mentioned community input on the resolution and on getting this thing figured out. What does it mean? How would it work?

JJ Hensley: There's a few versions. Anyone who has been around for a while might be familiar with DPS's settlement with racial profiling there. That created a citizen advisory board that Janet Napolitano signed in '06, ‘04 somewhere in there. That still exists today. That's kind of one of the things the ACLU is asking for here. A lot of what they proposed you'll see in other agreements and other cities around the country where there have been profiling issues. That community involvement is a big piece of that. In New Orleans the community got to weigh in on who the monitor would be.

Ted Simons: I can already see Sheriff Joe Arpaio he doesn’t want a court-appointed monitor. A group of citizens getting together -- I don't see him going for that at all.

JJ Hensley: His attorney, this may be prescient, but he said if that happens we're afraid that's going to turn into a political body intent on removing Arpaio from office.

Ted Simons: There have been some agreements, though.

JJ Hensley: There have. Shoot, the agreement they filed was 78 pages long and had 11 disputed points and dozens others where they could come to some agreement. The next steps for this: this Friday, they are going to have to file arguments with Judge Snow and he's going to review those over their disputed points and there’s going to be that hearing on the 30th, so we have about another ten days to go.

Ted Simons: And Judge Snow, we should mention, circling back to the monitor, he was very big on the monitor. That’s a done deal; it’s just the details.

JJ Hensley: Anyone who has looked at these agreements across the country, a monitor is always step one. In the ACLU's mind, they say, “What, are we just going to trust you, Arpaio, that you’re going to change things? No, we need to have someone in there to ensure that this change is happening.”

Ted Simons: The sheriff's attorney, I think the quote you had in your story was, “The sheriff recognizes he needs to comply and that he must comply.” Is that showing up here or is this still more dragging of the feet?

JJ Hensley: No. If you look at the bulk of that agreement and the issues that they have agreed on, you could say there are a lot of issues where he's shown some willingness to change operations, training, et cetera to get more toward this agreement. One of the other disputes is how long is it going to last? Three years or five years? ACLU wants five years, MCSOO wants three years. We have had this issue before with conditions in the jails and Judge Wake riding herd over 25-year consent decree. So it could go on for decades.

Ted Simons: We have another hearing coming up -- we could have kind of a final thing here when?

JJ Hensley: I think coming out of that hearing on the 30th we'll know a lot more about what Snow is going to have to kind of decide, what are the core issues that are up to him. He could come out of that hearing on the 30th and say, “This is what I’ve ordered, this is what I’ve decreed.” So it’s a good chance that things could start moving from that point.

Ted Simons: Before you leave, real quickly, Randy Parraz, the civil rights suit is adios. Do we know what’s going on there? I know that just happened this afternoon.

JJ Hensley: The sheriff’s office said that Parraz dropped it abruptly. The jury was seated. It was going to be in federal court. He was suing civil rights violations, alleging civil rights violations, from his arrest in 2008 at a board of supervisors meeting when there was a protest and he ended up getting arrested. The suit is dropped with prejudice, so it's not coming back.

Ted Simons: And is Randy Parraz coming back? I haven’t seen him around in a while.

JJ Hensley: I have not been able to contact him. I have heard reports he's doing work with politicians out of state.

Ted Simons: Interesting. Great stuff, JJ, always a pleasure.

JJ Hensley: Thanks for your time.