Sustainability Desk

In The Desert City Of Tucson, The Grass Is Not Greener
Tucson, Arizona, used to be a city of lawns. Patches of Bermuda grass lined residential neighborhoods, kept green — even in blazing summer months — with diligent watering. Over the decades, that has changed.
Campaign finance reports show the parent company of the state’s biggest utility has already set aside almost $11 million to spend on elections this year. Most of that is being allocated to defeat a ballot measure that’d require more than half the state’s energy to come from renewable sources by 2030.
Texas-based Phillips 66 is venturing into Mexico with three new gas stations in Hermosillo, Sonora. The company hopes to expand to as many as 30 stations in Sonora this year.
A new report shows Arizona is generating a lot more renewable energy than it did a decade ago. In fact, the state could power 658,000 homes today using renewables. In addition to that, California is the only state growing in solar generation at a faster rate than Arizona.
An Ode To The Modern Toilet, A Water Conservation Champ
Since the 1990s, a strange phenomenon has played out in arid Western urban areas. Populations are booming while overall water use is staying the same or going down. The trend is clear in Denver, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, San Diego and Phoenix — cities are growing and using less water in the process.
More Sustainabilty News
Two companies building one of the largest solar arrays in Latin America in Sonora recently secured financing for the project. In February, the Spanish firm Acciona and Mexican firm Tuto Energy began construction of the facility near Puerto Libertad, Sonora.
The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has allocated $4 million to western states to combat the spread of invasive quagga and zebra mussels.
The board of directors for the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District voted to take the first step in adopting a fallowing program for its farmers. The unanimous vote last week could lead to the transfer of water from the Colorado River to other southwestern states as well as towns in central Arizona.
The Arizona Game and Fish Department has received a flood of calls about bears in urban areas, with more than 200 bear-related calls last month alone.
Starting Monday, fire specialists will start five days of prescribed burns north of Payson.
Arizona water leaders are working on a drought contingency plan to present to lawmakers next year, and there’s been a lot of talk about the potential of a shortage declaration on Lake Mead, which would trigger water cut-backs.
Phoenix is among 35 cities participating in a national competition with a lot of money on the line. Bloomberg Philanthropies will award one city 5 million dollars. Four other cities will each get one million.
Gilbert is one step closer to securing a new water supply for the town. A deal with the San Carlos Apache Tribe was first brokered in 2010, but federal agencies delayed the lease until now.
Once a wildfire is contained, one of the biggest efforts is to re-vegetate the area that was burned. Researchers at Northern Arizona University have received a nearly $1 million federal grant to look at how climate change may affect that work.
Andrew Wheeler has taken over as acting administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, after Scott Pruitt resigned last week. But, the change in leadership may not mean that much change in policy coming out of the EPA.
Inspectors with Union Pacific Railroad have confirmed no hazardous materials spilled after a cargo train derailed near Interstate 10 in Tucson.
The meeting involved questions from the public on who will be most affected under the new plan if Lake Mead's levels drop to a dire level, and whether leaders can finally come together to hammer out the details.
Phoenix has a goal of diverting 40 percent of its waste by 2020. The city says as of the end of last year, its diversion rate was 30 percent. An incubator run by ASU and Phoenix is looking to help companies that are aiming to get the city closer to that goal.
Heavy rain early in the week and more moisture in the forecast led officials to confidently open the northern Arizona forest, while in southern Arizona "dry lightening" poses a risk.
Heat is killing more people in the United States every year. And as temperatures rise with climate change, that’s only forecast to get worse. In Phoenix, the problem is especially pressing and the city's trying to do something about it.
Dealing With Arizona Heat: Signs And Symptoms Of Dehydration
An Obstacle Of Recycled Water: Ick Factor
Communities in some very dry states have had to get creative, sometimes purifying sewage into drinking water. More western cities are beginning to get on board, too. But there’s a problem.