Seed grant engages citizens in Arizona water management

Monica Elser

Monica Elser, education manager for the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, was awarded a Citizen Science and Engagement seed grant along with Dara Wald, a Center for Policy Informatics (CPI) postdoctoral fellow. The grant, presented by the Office of the Vice President for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, will develop the project "Citizen Science to Forecast the Future of a Desert City," which builds on current research efforts at both CPI and Decision Center for a Desert City (DCDC).

The project aims to develop a web-based water-reporting site, MyFuturePhoenix, to engage citizens in water management efforts. Initially, high school students will track, classify and analyze personal water use data. Once connected to WaterSim, a water policy and management simulation model developed by DCDC, participants will be able to visualize the collective effect of water use decisions made today on the Phoenix area in the year 2050.

According to Wald, "This citizen science initiative has the potential to contribute data that is currently not available for university researchers, and to collect much more data than one agency or researcher could collect alone.”