Channah Rock

Channah Rock

I’m an associate professor in the Department of Soil, Water, and Environmental Science, with a joint appointment as a University Cooperative Extension Water Quality Specialist. I joined SWES in 2007 from Arizona State University, where I received my Ph.D. in Civil and Environmental Engineering. Currently, I facilitate a research-driven Water Quality Extension Program throughout Arizona, and work on the evaluation of water quality for the protection of public health as well as promoting water reuse as a safe and practical resource.

One of the main thrusts of my program focuses on recycled water related to water quality evaluation, public perception impacts, and policy implications. Recycled water (or reclaimed water) is water that is used more than one time before it passes back into the natural water cycle. More specifically, it implies the use of wastewater that has been treated to a level that allows for beneficial reuse.

Advances in wastewater treatment technologies have increased the quality of some treated wastewater to near or above drinking water standards. Accordingly, confidence has increased, and numerous municipalities are using recycled water for various end uses, including groundwater recharge, dust control, and irrigation of landscapes, golf courses, and edible and non-edible crops. Arizona, California, Florida, and Texas account for 90 percent of U.S. water reuse.

Our research-driven Extension programs have been tailored to identify community concerns related to water reuse in the Southwestern U.S. In 2009 and again in 2013, with grant funding from the Arizona Water Institute and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Water Quality Programs, we organized a 1,000-person statewide telephone survey focusing on public perception of recycled water reuse in residents in Arizona and Nevada.

Key findings indicate that residents feel it is important for their community to use recycled water. In fact, 76 percent of those surveyed support using “consumer incentives for using recycled water,” and more than two-thirds of respondents support “increasing water or sewer rates to treat water to higher standards.” Despite this support, the survey revealed that almost two-thirds of the respondents have concerns about recycled water. The survey indicated that providing “better information about recycled water” could alleviate those concerns. While there have been numerous technological and political accomplishments related to recycled water in recent years, there is still much work to be done in the near future. Through my role as an Extension Specialist, I hope to continue the water reuse dialogue with the public’s interests in mind.

Channah Rock

Associate Professor

Maricopa Agricultural Center, Maricopa, AZ

(520) 381-2258