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University of Arizona Engineering College pursues water technology innovation cluster
Date:2/19/2013

errez indicated that that the EPA has a goal of fostering a network of regional water clusters and welcomes the start-up efforts in Tucson. She shared the tri-state water cluster model under way in southwest Ohio, northern Kentucky and southeast Indiana. But in a nod to the uniqueness of the arid Southwest, she acknowledged that each region has its own set of needs, opportunities and challenges and suggested that the Southwest look to Israel for inspiration.

Tucson reuses about 9 percent of its water, impressive considering that only 1 percent is reused nationally. In contrast, however, Israel reuses 75 percent of its water. Similarly, Israel uses drip irrigation on 90 percent of its cropland, while Arizona, with nearly 70 percent of its water use in agriculture, uses subsurface irrigation on less than 3 percent of it cropland.

"When you look at what Israel has been able to accomplish, you see the exciting opportunities for innovation," said Gutierrez.

"We are far from winning the war of demand on our water supply throughout the world," she said, noting that an increasingly warm climate, population growth and waste continue to drain the world's finite reserve of fresh water. In fact, in a world where more than 80 percent of the wastewater is neither collected nor treated, global food demand and the water to produce it is expected to rise 70 percent by 2050, according to the United Nations.

Discussions on establishing a water cluster in the Tucson area will continue in the near future, Schrader said, not just with local governments, utilities and corporations, but also with water cluster representatives in Australia, the Middle East and Israel.

Said Schrader: "By marshaling the University's immense brain power and facilitating investment in water sector research, we can distinguish our region's water management systems while also spurring the development of technologies that can be exported to other water-challenged area
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Contact: Karina Barrentine
karinab@email.arizona.edu
520-621-0191
University of Arizona College of Engineering
Source:Eurekalert

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