Symposium: Hydrology - The Next 50 Years

National Ground Water Association - UA Hydrology and Water Resources Symposium

Hydrology: The Next 50 Years

April 2, 2016 

A day-long symposium focusing on the future of hydrology from the perspectives of hydrologic science, hydrologic education, the professional practice of hydrology, and the water and energy sector.   The luncheon speakers will talk about water law from the perspective of integrated surface water and groundwater. 


Speaker: Peter Troch (audio not captured)

Speaker: David Goodrich

Speaker: Fred Phillips

Venue:  Arizona Historical Society (Arizona History Museum), 949 East Second Street (corner of Second Street and Park Avenue), Tucson, Arizona



8:00 AM

Check In & Continental Breakfast

9:00 AM

Welcome  Eric Betterton

9:05 AM

Speaker  Peter A. Troch - The Landscape Evolution Observatory: A large-scale controllable infrastructure to study coupled Earth surface processes

Introduction Jon Chorover

Abstract  The University of Arizona just completed construction of the Landscape Evolution Observatory (LEO) at Biosphere 2. LEO is the world's largest Earth systems science controlled experiment and consists of three large hillslopes under the glass of Biosphere 2. Each hillslope is 30m long and 11m wide and contains 1m of crushed basalt. In and above the soil a network of more than 2000 sensors and samples allow for observing water, carbon, and energy fluxes in real time. In this presentation, I'll give an overview of the LEO project, its objectives, and discuss some early results related to hydrological experimentation.

Peter Troch is a surface water hydrologist whose current research involves seasonal, decadal, and climate predictions of water availability in semi-arid river basins, as well as developing research infrastructure to investigate Critical Zone processes across climate gradients. He is a Professor with the Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences, Science Director of UA Biosphere 2, a member of the editorial board of Hydrological Processes, editor of special issues in Advances in Water Resources and Journal of Hydrometeorology, associate editor of Water Resources Research, and an elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He has published over 140 papers in refereed international journals dealing with flash flood forecasting, catchment classification and similarity, land slide and debris flow modeling, remote sensing applications in hydrology and data assimilation, climate variability and climate change impacts on water availability, and the role of vegetation on hydrologic partitioning at catchment scales. He has been involved in several international airborne and spaceborne remote sensing experiments in hydrology. In 2011 Troch received the John Dalton Medal awarded by the European Geosciences Union for his seminal contributions to hydrology in the areas of modeling, remote sensing, and development of new ecohydrologic theories. He is currently one of four inaugural Agnese Nelms Haury Chairs in Environment and Social Justice at the University of Arizona. 

9:35 AM

Panel  The Future of Hydrologic Science

Moderator  Hoshin Gupta

Panel Members  Jesus Carrera, Jesse Dickinson, Thomas Harter, Christopher Scott, and Xubin Zeng

10:25 AM

Coffee Break

10:35 AM

Speaker  Daniel Tartakovsky - Probability and risk in groundwater modeling

Introduction By  Don Zhang

Abstract  We present a comprehensive probabilistic computational framework that enables one to quantify aleatory and epistemic uncertainties associated with characterization and predictions of the fate and transport of contaminants in the subsurface. These uncertainties stem from the limited knowledge about a site's geological makeup, physical and biochemical processes, conceptual-mathematical model formulations, flow and transport parameters, forcing terms (initial conditions, boundary conditions, source terms), disparity of scales, and numerical implementation. This proposed framework makes optimal use of existing site characterization data, source material distribution assessments, current physical and biochemical process models, and recent advances in probabilistic and computational techniques. It readily accommodate new information, including new site data, compounds, process models, and conceptual models. At the heart of our approach lie the method of distribution and the method of random domain decomposition (RDD), two powerful tools for dealing with the kinds of spatially heterogeneous random processes that typically appear in realistic simulations of physical systems.  RDD is based on a doubly stochastic model in which the problem domain is decomposed according to stochastic geometries into disjoint random fields. The stochastic decomposition is determined by variations in the parameter space based on additional (uncertain) geological information that can be derived from new characterization techniques and also from expert knowledge. Previous work has tended to concentrate on spatially homogeneous parameterizations, or at most on heterogeneous parameter fields whose geometry is assumed known with certainty. This is almost never the case in natural systems. On the other hand, random domain decomposition allows us to estimate system states when heterogeneous parameterizations depend on realistic geometric uncertainty.

11:05 AM

Panel  The Future of Hydrologic Education

Moderator Juan Valdes

Panel Members  Graham Fogg, Laurel Lacher, John McCray, Sharon Megdal, and Martha Whitaker

12:00 PM


Luncheon Speakers   A Conversation with Tom Maddock and Robert Glennon about Ground Water, Surface Water, and the Law

Moderator  Susan Ward Harris

1:30 PM

Speaker  David C. Goodrich - The Upper San Pedro:  A stakeholder-scientist partnership for research to meet decision needs

Introduction By  Tom Meixner

Abstract  Watersheds provide a number of critical ecosystem services that are essential to sustain human well being.  Decision-makers and natural resource managers responsible for watershed and water resources management increasingly require sophisticated levels of expert findings and scientific results to make informed decisions.  No single scientific discipline is typically capable of providing integrated solution for decision-makers and managers.  Significant effort beyond the traditional scientific method is required conduct interdisciplinary science across the physical, ecological, and economic sciences.  Even greater effort is required to effectively integrate this research with policy and decision makers.  This presentation will provide an overview of the evolution of natural resources research in the San Pedro Basin in southeastern Arizona into a mature integrated science and decision-making program embodied in the Upper San Pedro Partnership.  It will discuss the transition in project focus from science and research for understanding; through science for addressing a need; to integrated science and policy development.  At each stage the research conducted became more interdisciplinary, first across abiotic disciplines (hydrology, remote sensing, atmospheric science), then by merging abiotic and biotic disciplines (adding ecology and plant physiology), and finally a further integration with the social and economic sciences with policy and decision-makers for resource management.  Non-market ecosystem service valuation for multiple riparian attributes will also be presented as they aid decision makers weighing preservation and restoration expenditures.  Lessons learned from this experience will be reviewed with the intent providing guidance to ensure that hydrologic and watershed research is socially and scientifically relevant and will directly address the needs of policy makers and resource managers for overall watershed sustainability.

2:00 PM

Panel  Water and the Energy Sector   

Moderator  Jennifer McIntosh

Panel Members  Ardeth Barnhart, Gretchen Oelsner, and Stephen Osborn

3:00 PM

Coffee Break

3:15 PM

Speaker  Fred M. Phillips - The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation: Can 19th Century water law meet the challenges of water management in the 21st Century southwest?

Introduction By  Marek Zreda

Abstract  The Doctrine of Prior Appropriation prevails as the operative basis for water law in most of the western United States. It is the product of a very specific time, the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th Centuries, and of a particular need, which was to equitably allocate water delivered by federal irrigation projects and to encourage rapid development of irrigated land. The southwestern U.S. now faces a very different challenge: to preserve environmental and agricultural assets in the face of a water supply that is dwindling due to climate change and urban growth. Many aspects of Prior Appropriation no longer make sense. These include the continuous beneficial use requirement, which encourages waste and inefficient use, and priority administration, which is unworkable when many water rights are held by urban users. The inevitable end-point for Prior Appropriation in its current form will be the desiccation of riparian and agricultural assets with the water being funneled into ever-expanding urban sprawl. Just as they did at the end of the 19th Century, contemporary water scientists and engineers need to reevaluate the extent to which water law serves the common good and to formulate new approaches for the 21st Century.

Fred Phillips received a B.A. degree in Earth Science from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1976 and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources at the University of Arizona in 1979 and 1981.  His advisor for both degrees was Stanley N. Davis.  Notably, this academic progress was achieved despite the ‘animal-house’ working environment provided by his officemates Peter Martin, Louis Meschede, and Carmen Parada.  Since 1981 he has been with the Department of Earth and Environmental Science at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, in Socorro, New Mexico, where from 2004 to 2015 he was Director of the Hydrology Program and he is now Emeritus Professor of Hydrology.  He has authored over 150 scientific publications.  Areas of research during his career include dating and tracing old groundwater, especially using 36Cl, paleohydrology, especially of the pluvial lakes of the American Southwest, hydrodynamics of deep desert vadose zones, groundwater recharge processes, runoff generation in mountainous environments, systematics of cosmogenic nuclides and their use for landform dating, Quaternary geochronology using surface-exposure dating, and Quaternary paleoclimatology.  He is a Fellow of the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union, and has received the F.W. Clarke Medal (Geochemical Society), the O.E. Meinzer Award (GSA), the Kirk Bryan Award (GSA), and the New Mexico Earth Science Achievement Award.  He served as the 1994 Birdsall-Dreiss Distinguished Lecturer for the Hydrogeology Division of the GSA.

3:45 PM

Panel  The Future of Professional Practice of Hydrology

Moderator  Tom Meixner

Panelists Lorne Everett and Hale Barter, both professional hydrologic consultants, and Bonnie Colby, a University of Arizona resource economist who has worked with a variety of hydrologic consultants in her career, will address the continuing and expected evolution of professional consulting. The panel will examine different dimensions of hydrologic consulting:  Litigation, development, mining, T&E species, water supply, and environmental impact. After a brief discussion of their individual perspectives on the future direction, panelists will follow up with a vigorous conversation wih all symposium participants.  

6:00 PM

Closing Dinner

A Conversation with Shlomo P. Neuman

Moderators  Jesus Carrera, Paul Hsieh, Don Zhang

Adjournment at 7:45 PM