© Tucson Arts Brigade / The Water Festival

DEC. 11
JAN. 14
FEB. 11


Nov. 19th Brainstorm:


Who sets policy? (Use, conservation, storm water, etc.)

Who are the key people from different levels of the community?

What level of bureaucracy does policy come from (local, regional, state, national, international)?

What is international policy in relation to local policy?

How much influence do corporations have in policy?

Why is water so cheap in Tucson? What’s the value?

What alternatives are people using and are they really effective?

What are the politics of CAP (Central Arizona Project)?

Why is there no public conservation policy?

How can we encourage distribution to areas that need it? What kinds of policies will help conserve for the future?

Why is sustainability ignored?

What kind of language or incentive can be used to conserve water?

How do we raise the awareness of conservation immediacy and urgency?

- - - - - -

Look at development policies and implications of future water use in the community.

Incentives- connecting people to their water use and what it means to them. Take responsibility.

Transparency of decision making

Making greywater systems and rainwater easier to get approved and installed (building codes, policy, etc)

Education about access to safe drinking water and supply- where does it come from?

Adopt and adhere to a definition of sustainability (cooperation, mutuality, collectivity rather than domination)

Model it and mainstream it.


NOV. 19
JAN. 14
FEB. 11


Dec. 11th Brainstorm:



Key People:
• ADWAR (State)
• Mayor & Council
• Private Well Owners
• Privatized Water Companies
• Commercial Water Companies
• Federal Government
• Neighborhoods (i.e. Winterhaven)

Water Policy is set by Mayor & Council but determined by recommendations by Tucson Water and constrained by State and Federal law.

Who tracks the amount of water pumped from wells?

How many straws are allowed to sip from common water sources?

Change the fee schedule, water rates must change- charge more to deliver water to the foothills (vertical incline, swimming pools, landscaping, etc)

Composting toilets- great new industry.

Greywater catchment -> conservation + native plants

Lakes Mead & Powell are dropping in water level.

Open ditch to deliver water in the desert? Evaporation issues.

There is regional competition for water use- how about regional competition for water conservation?

Nobody is minding the store.

Constrain growth to fit water availability.

Historically, rates were set when water was seen as unlimited. They were set low so everyone could take advantage of the water, a basic human need. Recently, water has become more finite in supply, yet the original way water was priced has not changed. Thus, we do not penalize large users of water, or make efforts to reign in non-essential uses of water such as watering certain golf courses, or watering lawns and other non-edible, ornamental, non-native plants. Probably, Tucson Water should be pressured to propose some sort of tiered pricing system that would charge more for water that isn’t required for drinking and other essential uses.

There is a natural conflict between those in policy-making positions who would like to see growth in our Tucson region and those who recognize the impact that unlimited growth has on our natural resources such as water. We need to help those in these positions understand the direct connection between growth and our ability to sustain life here in the desert indefinitely. Currently, the water consumption by the various well-owners is not monitored or controlled by authorities. Historically, anyone who owned at least one acre of land could apply for a permit to sink a well. As our portion of CAP water dries up, we will be forced to drain ever more of our ground water dry. If nothing is done to cap growth, none of us will be able to live here. Chris pointed out that not all growth generates irresponsible water use; denser populations, smaller spaces between buildings, and inclusion of water-saving appliances allow greater efficiency.

Politicians are reluctant to raise water rates to respond to the dwindling water supply because increasing fees enrages voters and costs the politicians their jobs in the next election. We must recognize & adopt ways to provide political cover for responsible elected officials who insist on identifiable water sources before approving growth projects that tout job growth in these difficult financial times. We should find clever ways to show the public that increasing fees on profligate water users (those with personal swimming pools, lush landscaping, 24-head double shower stalls, etc.) will benefit the rest of us who are frugal and responsible in consumption habits.

A skit for the latter might be to dress a couple of people in big boxes that say “WalMart” and “Target”. Have them be excited about the many new stores that have been approved for Tucson. Then have someone representing H2O come out and basically keel over and die. Show H2O as having been strangled by the big box guys.

A skit for the first issue might be to have H2Os running all over the place with someone saying, in the beginning there was lots of water in Tucson and few people (have one or two people in the crowd). That was a long time ago. (Then add more and more people and take away most of the H2Os.) Now people are drinking and using more water that can be replenished. In fact, our policy makers have never changed how cheaply people can access water. We are quickly running out. Do we have time to get our act together and bring our human, animal and plant life into balance with how much water we have? (maybe bring water and people with some animals and plants together in balance and hold hands??)


NOV. 19
DEC. 11
FEB. 11


Jan. 14th Brainstorm:


1) Policy is the backbone that carries forward the futuristic, modern, forward-thinking and creative-thinking.

2)   Public interest in water pollicy is very low unless there is a visible crisis.

3)   Conservation: at what cost? Restoration: at even greater cost

4) We need to start counting the number of faucets that the city and the county issue to developers.

5)   Implement triple bottom line analysis (and look for the benefits of implementing it): Social, economic and environmental rating tool that is used to “monitize” the above factors

6) Hydro- Illogic cycle....Policy Hydro-Illogic Cycle

7) Water lobbyist for activists



Pointing fingers at each other

Animating Hydro-Illogical Cycle


NOV. 19
DEC. 11
JAN. 14


Feb. 11th Brainstorm:


1. Identify regulatory barriers

2. Identify stakeholders

3.  Identify jurisdictional differences

4.  Identify the cost of inaction

5.  Educate legislators about the issues

6.  Requires common goals

7.  Establish common commitment

8.  Contest to identify common commitment

Make a contest to develop common commitment and assume responsibility


NOV. 19
DEC. 11
JAN. 14
FEB. 11


A Couple of Extra Post-Its

Water to be reorganized and valued as the precious resource that it is River Resurrection

Presented By


TUCSON ARTS BRIGADE, INC. (TAB) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit participatory service-based community arts and education organization that specializes in Green Arts, offering intergenerational and cross-cultural opportunities for civic engagement. TAB facilitates dialogue and employs arts-based solutions to complex community issues including graffiti, bullying, crime, drug use, health and wellness, empowering youth and elders, beautification, sustainable design, and revitalizing neighborhoods. Bringing together schools, neighborhoods, civic agencies, businesses, and other non-profits, TAB is a national model for sustainable community development through the arts. MORE INFO: www.TucsonArtsBrigade.org