Summer Schooling, Part 7: Marana is Aiming to Grow Smarter

I have reached the midpoint of my internship with the Town and find myself working on several different projects, all of which are seeking to improve current situations by looking ahead and embracing new ideas. 

I am using my experience as a landscape designer for a project with Parks and Recreation where I will be helping with an irrigation system that is nearing the end of its expected life span.  It is already showing signs of distress and has needed a few costly and time-consuming repairs.  Parks and Rec is taking a pro-active approach and has made the decision to replace the failing system before constant maintenance and repairs cost more than replacing the system.  It is also an excellent opportunity to incorporate new technology and water harvesting methods that minimize water consumption and will save money in the long run. 

I am also working on a project for the water department where I will be putting my master’s degree in Planning to good use.  I will be “balancing the water checkbook.”  Everyone in the Southwest knows water is important; we try to conserve it as much as possible and work hard to make sure we have a water supply that will last long into the future.  The water checkbook is the Water Department’s method of calculating existing use, future use, and credits all while projecting it out over the next one hundred years.  It’s a complicated system that I hope to be able to simplify using GIS.  GIS is a very powerful mapping system that can perform some pretty complex calculations.  It can also be set up to perform these functions automatically and very accurately. 

Embracing innovative practices and being pro-active is something I have found to be a constant theme throughout my time so far.  All of the departments are using new techniques to increase our ability to provide more with less.  Everyone is working diligently to ensure we get the most out of our resources and assets and that they are available to the next generation of users.  These two projects, I think, reflect the Town of Marana’s ambition to be an efficient entity that is constantly looking to grow smarter.