TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Dow Chemical Company came to a University of Arizona facility in Tucson, Thursday, March 16, to unveil a race car designed to get us thinking about conserving water and exactly what that means.
Dow and the UA are partners, working on ways to make our water supply last far into the future.
Dow and NASCAR driver Austin Dillon unveiled Dow's Number 3 Chevy in Tucson at the University of Arizona's Water and Energy Sustainability Technology, or WEST, Center.
Dillon will be driving the car in this weekend's NASCAR race in Phoenix.
The car celebrates and brings attention to World Water Day, March 22.
"It's a great way to tie it all together and I'm just proud to be here and unveiling a beautiful race care that we can promote the conservation of water," the two-time NASCAR Champion, Dillon, said.
The DOW/UA partnership was born of a need to find ways to provide enough clean drinking water for the world. Drinking water availability is considered one of the great sustainability challenges facing us.
University research is key, but with fewer government dollars available, schools are turning more and more to collaborations with private industry.
Dow says it is working to solve water sustainability issues, including studying ways to deal with climate change.
"You look worldwide at trends in global climate change, it's changing the patterns of climate. It's changing the patterns of weather in ways that are sometimes predictable which we can work towards adapting to, but in other ways that are not predictable," said Dow Chemical Company Chief Sustainability Officer Dr. Neil Hawkins. "But I think the key thing is we do need to continue to keep a sharp eye on climate change and risks that it brings to the water supply of people who currently have water, people who have, maybe, not enough water and people who need more water because when you look 50 years from now, it's not going to be the same. So this issue of modeling availability of water and quality of water, it becomes a life or death issue for whole countries in some cases."
Hawkins said Dow is working on technology that turns ocean water into drinking water and on technology to reuse water.
"So there's both. You've got to be looking ahead to supply and where you can get water from and then how do you treat it so that it's acceptable and gets the job done for individuals that need water," Hawkins said.
Dow is one of the founding partners of the UA's WEST Center.
"That's fundamentally what we're about here. We don't often think about the treatment facilities and Dow making the parts that go into those facilities and the ideas of how that works. And so the university is really thinking about how do we do that in a low-cost way that keeps prices down for consumers, advances technologies and allows us to turn on that tap and wonderful water to come out," said UA Senior Vice President for Research Dr. Kimberly Espy.
WEST Center does research at Pima County's Agua Nueva Water Reclamation facility, yet another partner.
They're finding ways to treat and re-use water and get people used to the idea.
"Every individual has to think about water differently and understand how to get it to good quality and to accept it and these kinds of programs like WEST Center here at UA are uniquely positioned to help make that breakthrough," Hawkins said.
So, it helps to have a race car to spread the word.