During the last weekend in June, while Arizona made national headlines for a record-breaking heatwave, I traveled from the temperate headquarters of WaterNow Alliance on the San Francisco Bay to Flagstaff to work with the all-star AZ Pure Water Brew Challenge team at the AZ Get Outdoors Expo. It was definitely worth braving the heat.
Not only was the event a big success, but it was great to spend time with the ingenious team leads and project volunteers. One thing is for sure, this is a group that has fun while doing some very innovative work. Although we didn’t have beer samples yet (more on that later), we did give countless tours of the mobile advanced water purification system (or the “Beer Truck” as we call it) and over 500 people filled out our survey to measure public perception.
But this project is more than just fun and beer, behind the scenes there is a tremendous amount of precise science and hard data at work in order to meet our lofty goals:
Goal 1: Improve Public Perceptions and Acceptance of Potable Reuse.
We’ve designed a 13-question survey to measure public perceptions. At the end of the project we’ll analyze the results to determine how effective our strategy and messaging has been. Anecdotally, the only attendees I spoke with that indicated they wouldn’t drink the PWBC beer don’t ever drink it.
Goal 2: Demonstrate That Highly Purified Water Can Be Made Safe for Potable Reuse. This is the reason we don’t have beer…YET. To satisfy our permit with the AZ Department of Environmental Quality, the water that comes out of our advanced water purification system goes through extensive analytical monitoring and testing to ensure that it is safe for human consumption. On Monday, the team set up at the Flagstaff Rio De Flag Reclamation Plant to begin making water that was then sent to multiple labs throughout the State to begin the verification and testing. So far, the results have demonstrated exactly as we expected: Pure Water.
In the next week or two we’ll make our first delivery of this pure water to our participating brewers to make crisp, delicious beer. The final competition will take place at the WateReuse Symposium in September. Until then, check our website to find out about upcoming events where you can tour the “Beer Truck.” Our next stop is the Scottsdale AZ Get Outdoors Expo on July 15th and 16th. On behalf of the team, we invite you and your community to join the Challenge and learn more about water issues!
Danielle McPherson is the Water Resource Specialist at WaterNow Alliance.