100 Water Heroes: Dr. Sharon Megdal

Photo: Kelvin Trautman

Photo: Kelvin Trautman

Director of the University of Arizona’s Water Resources Research Center

Dr. Sharon Megdal is the Director of the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC) at the University of Arizona, a research unit within in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Sharon’s research centres on regional and international water policy and water resource management issues and solutions. In addition to her role as Director of WRRC, Sharon holds a number of prestigious positions at the university, including Director of the Water Sustainability Programme and the Co-Director of The University of Arizona Water, Environmental and Energy Solutions Program.

During the final USA leg of #RunningDry, Mina was able to meet Sharon and learn about her work with WRRC. Sharon said that she works as a bridge between researchers and the real world. Much of her work has focused on the Colorado River, and one of the predominant issues she highlighted was the fact that it has been largely over-allocated.

The general health of the Colorado River is of great importance to Arizona, as it accounts for approximately 40% of the water used in the state, and most of the drinking water used daily in the Tucson metro area. Sharon noted the absolute necessity of cutting back on the delivery of water from the Colorado River, particularly because of issues surrounding over-allocation and the ongoing drought.

Sharon also spoke to Mina about the Sweetwater Wetlands project, which is part of the City of Tucson’s reclaimed water system that provides non-potable water to use primarily for turf irrigation. The area is a popular urban wildlife habitat and riparian zone, and is one of many ways that the city and state is looking to offer alternative sources of water rather than relying on the dwindling Colorado River.

Sharon is one of our #100WaterHeroes for the impactful work she has done in the fields of water policy and management, and for successfully leading the Water Resources Research Center.

Linkedin: linkedin.com/in/sharon-megdal-30412215