Simulating a sustainable future of water, energy and food in Phoenix

Doctoral student's work on local water issues earns Central Arizona Project Award for Water Research

September 21, 2021

Phoenix is a rapidly growing metropolitan area in a desert. As the population increases, it will be more and more challenging to supply water, food and energy — three essential resources that are interconnected in complex and competing ways.

“Water supply in the region is energy-intensive. Energy generation needs water, and food production needs energy and water in the form of irrigation for agriculture in this hot and dry climate,” says Xin Guan, a civil, environmental and sustainable engineering doctoral student in the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona State University who is studying hydro systems engineering and the food-energy-water nexus in the Phoenix area. A canal near agricultural fields and infrastructure in the Phoenix metropolitan area An irrigation canal running near agricultural fields in the Phoenix metropolitan area. Arizona State University civil, environmental and sustainable engineering doctoral student Xin Guan is studying the connection between food, energy and water in Phoenix and the surrounding agricultural land as temperatures change and water shortages loom. This work, which will help local policymakers optimize decisions that affect these vital resources, earned Guan a competitive Central Arizona Project Award for Water Research. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock Download Full Image

“Understanding the interconnection among these three sectors gives us the best opportunity of achieving a win-win-win solution for people in the area,” she says.

For the past four years, Guan has been studying the food-energy-water nexus through an integrated simulation approach. This method allows Guan to thoroughly understand the interconnections between each sector and observe feedback from one sector to another as various climate and policy factors change.

In her research, Guan takes a localized approach to simulate how global climate systems affect the agricultural sector in the Phoenix Active Management Area, which governs groundwater use in the Phoenix metropolitan area and surrounding agricultural land. Specifically, she is analyzing how temperature changes and water shortages affect crop production.

“The small-scale simulation at the irrigation district level can capture unique details of the local area and, in turn, helps local policymakers to make policies more adaptable to local conditions,” Guan says.

Xin Guan

Civil, environmental and sustainable engineering doctoral student Xin Guan.

This research earned Guan the first-place 2021 Central Arizona Project Award for Water Research — a competitive award from the water resource development and management organization that recognizes research excellence from undergraduate and graduate students at Arizona’s colleges and universities. This achievement marks the first time a Fulton Schools student has won the award.

The award is given to unpublished research that addresses water issues in Arizona associated with the Central Arizona Project and the Colorado River.

Guan’s findings are especially relevant to the future of water — as well as energy and food — in the area. Her simulations determined that the projected temperature increase of 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century will likely cause reductions in central Arizona’s crop production by an average of approximately 16% and 26% for the moderate and intense warming scenarios, respectively.

In addition to climate change, Guan has analyzed the concomitant effects on the agricultural sector in central Arizona that would be caused by water shortages under the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan, a set of agreements for protecting the Colorado River system in the Southwest through water conservation and reduction efforts. Guan's research predicts that water shortages could further reduce crop production, outweighing the impacts of rising temperatures due to climate change if water allocations are reduced by more than 10% of their current amount.

“The findings of this research are very timely and relevant given the recent declaration of Central Arizona Project water shortages for the agricultural sector in Arizona,” says Giuseppe Mascaro, a Fulton Schools assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering and Guan’s adviser.

Guan’s simulations would help make the complexity of the food-energy-water nexus more accessible for policymakers by allowing them to test various present and future “what if?” scenarios.

“We can test different policies by embedding them into the model and simulating the responses on water, energy and food sectors,” Guan says. “We can have a direct outlook on the pros and cons of the policy and help policymakers assign values to the trade-offs and optimize policy for all three sectors.”

Mascaro says he is proud of Guan for earning this recognition and for what she has achieved so far through her research, which is supported by a National Science Foundation’s Innovations at the Nexus of Food, Energy and Water Systems, or INFEWS, program grant project. Mascaro is a co-principal investigator for the project titled, “Flexible Model Compositions and Visual Representations for Planning and Policy Decisions for the Food-Energy-Water Nexus.”

A graphic of the food-energy-water nexus

The food-energy-water nexus is a complex interconnectedness of three vital sectors affected by climate, a region’s population, the economy and policies. Each of the three resources — food, energy and water — rely upon each other, affect each other and are affected by each other in numerous ways, which makes policymaking in these areas difficult and full of unintended consequences. Graphic courtesy of the ASU Visual Analytics and Data Exploration Research Lab

“The Central Arizona Project Award for Water Research is a well-deserved accomplishment for Xin after four years of hard work, during which she has acquired deep knowledge of water and climate challenges in the Southwestern U.S. and developed new models to address these challenges,” Mascaro says.

“Receiving an award from a major stakeholder of the project like the Central Arizona Project is also a clear recognition of the relevance and impact of Xin’s research and, more generally, of the work done by all scientists involved in this NSF grant.”

Guan says it’s an honor to have been selected for this award, which also gave her the opportunity to present her research at the Arizona Hydrological Society Symposium on Sept. 17.

“It is a great recognition of the effort I put into this research and an acknowledgment of the value of my work,” says Guan, whose goal is to use civil, environmental and sustainable engineering principles to generate solutions for a sustainable future for humanity. “It is also a good opportunity to show the research to policymakers as well as to contribute to a better community.”

Monique Clement

Communications specialist, Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering


ASU Wind Bands announces 2021–22 concert season

September 21, 2021

The ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre's Wind Bands 2021–22 concert season brings music back to the stage with a live audience.

“Musicians love making music for others,” said Jason Caslor, director of bands and associate professor in the School of Music, Dance and Theatre. “I think the big impact of the pandemic has brought back a joy of being in the room with other musicians and being able to make music together. I know we are all looking forward to being able to share that music with a live audience.” ASU Wind Bands Download Full Image

Students in the ASU Wind Bands program, which includes the Wind Ensemble, Wind Symphony, Maroon and Gold Band, and Chamber Winds, learned about recording and virtual performances last year after live performances were canceled. Caslor said the skills they learned are very important, but the students and the faculty are also “excited about being together again for performances.”

“For me, this year represents an introduction of sorts — introducing myself to the Wind Symphony, ASU and the community,” said Jamal Duncan, associate director of bands. “With my first year being taken over by the pandemic, I didn't get to meet many of my students in person and didn't get to make music with many of them. This year, I want to share not only great music, but music that is special to me.”

Duncan joined the school in fall 2020 and will make his mainstage debut with the Wind Symphony at the first performance of the season Sept. 22 at the Madison Center for the Arts in Phoenix.

According to Duncan, the planning process for each season begins with selecting the main piece and/or guest artist, and then the other pieces are selected for each concert.

“Once I have the main piece, I then try to make some sort of artistic statement or find a way to connect it to the other pieces on the concert,” Duncan said. “Sometimes the connection is subtle, sometimes more overt.”

For example, the Wind Symphony’s second concert features ASU alumnus Nathan Bitter (BM ’20), a winner of the 2019 ASU Concerto Competition, who will be performing Danish composer Launy Grondahl’s famous trombone concerto. Once that piece was chosen, Duncan said, his “mind went immediately to a concert with international flair and pieces that would take the audience on a journey across the world in music — ‘Wanderlust: Let's Travel the World!’”

This year’s season also features three other ASU Concerto Competition winners — doctor of musical arts students Jared Waters, saxophone; Michael Robinson, clarinet; and Ziyu Wang, composition. In addition, three ASU music faculty members will perform with the wind bands — Thomas Landschoot, cello; Christopher Creviston, saxophone; and Joshua Gardner, clarinet.

Composer Kevin Day will visit campus for a multi-day residency in February. The ASU Wind Ensemble will be performing the consortium premiere of his virtuosic Concerto for Wind Ensemble, and the ASU Wind Symphony will perform the world premiere of a new work he is writing specifically for them. Guest conductors include Armand Hall, Gregory Whitmore and Carl St. Clair.

New this year is the ASU Wind Bands’ Composer-In-Residence Program. ASU student composers Laura Brackney, Jacob Chesney and Sarah Lucas-Page were each selected through a competitive process and will have a yearlong opportunity to fully immerse themselves in writing a new work for concert band. Included in the collaboration is the opportunity to create, workshop, rehearse, record and possibly premiere a new work.

“Viewed as a true collaborative effort, we see the composer, conductor and ensemble members as equal partners in this venture,” Caslor said.

The ASU Chamber Winds, the newest ensemble in the ASU Wind Bands family, was selected through peer review to perform at the College Band Directors National Association West/Northwest Regional Conference at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington, in March 2022. The main work on their program will be Mozart’s Serenade in E-flat, K. 375.

All attendees at performances are required to agree to adhere to ASU policies that are consistent with CDC guidelines for colleges and universities. Face coverings are required in School of Music, Dance and Theatre indoor performance spaces. University COVID-19 information may be found at

2021-22 ASU Wind Bands Season

ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony — “In This Broad Earth: Music of the Spheres
7:30 p.m. Sept. 22; purchase tickets
Madison Center for the Arts, Phoenix; directions

The ASU Wind Symphony, lead by Jamal Duncan, in his mainstage debut as associate director of bands, and the ASU Wind Ensemble open their seasons at the Madison Center for the Arts performing works by Norman Dello Joio, John Philip Sousa, and Omar Thomas.

Steven Bryant: "In This Broad Earth"
Omar Thomas: "Shenandoah"
Tielman Susato/Dunnigan: "The Danserye"
Kimberly Archer: "Fanfare Politeia"
Ziyu Wang: "Rhapsody for a Flight of Stairs" (world premiere), 2019 ASU Composition Competition winner
Nicole Piunno: "Where Words Cannot Go"
Norman Dello Joio: "Variants On A Medieval Tune"

ASU Maroon and Gold Band
 8 p.m. Oct. 5; free
Nelson Fine Arts Plaza, Tempe campus

ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony — “Wanderlust: Let’s Travel the World!”
7:30 p.m. Oct. 26; purchase tickets
Madison Center for the Arts, Phoenix; directions
Guest conductor: Armand Hall

The ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony perform works by Alfred Reed and Percy Grainger and feature 2021 ASU Concerto Competition winners Nathan Bitter, trombone and Jared Waters, saxophone.

Brandon Scott Rumsey: "Wanderlust" with Armand Hall, guest conductor
Luis Serrano Alarcón: "Tramonto," Thomas Landschoot, cello
Launy Grøndahl: "Concerto for Trombone and Band," Nathan Bitter, trombone
Alfred Reed: "Armenian Dances Pt. 1.      "
Percy Grainger: "Shepherd’s Hey" and "Irish Tune" from County Derry
André Waignein: "Rhapsody for Alto Saxophone and Band," Jared Waters, saxophone
Omar Thomas: Come Sunday

ASU Wind Ensemble and Tempe Winds — “Maslanka’s Symphony No. 4”
7:30 p.m. Nov. 17
ASU Gammage, Tempe campus

Guest conductors Phil Vallejo and Kristen Zelenak lead the ASU Wind Ensemble in David Maslanka's epic "Symphony No. 4" and Weber’s "Clarinet Concerto No. 2," featuring Michael Robinson, winner of the 2020 ASU Concerto Competition. They will also be sharing the evening with Tempe Winds.

David Maslanka: "Symphony No. 4"
Carl Maria von Weber: "Clarinet Concerto No. 2," Michael Robinson, clarinet

ASU Maroon and Gold Band and the ASU Wind Symphony
7:30 p.m. Nov. 23
ASU Gammage, Tempe campus

The ASU Maroon and Gold Band and the ASU Wind Symphony perform their final concert of 2021.

Sally Greenaway: "Aurora Musis Amic"
Williams Himes: "Amazing Grace"
Percy Grainger: "Lincolnshire Posy"

ASU Chamber Winds
10 a.m. Feb. 7; purchase tickets
Madison Center for the Arts, Phoenix; directions

The ASU Chamber Winds perform for students in the Madison School District.

ASU Wind Ensemble and Wind Symphony — “Old, New, Borrowed, and Blue”
7:30 p.m. Feb. 16
ASU Gammage, Tempe campus

ASU Wind Bands is pleased to welcome composer Kevin Day to campus as we present the consortium premiere of his virtuosic "Concerto for Wind Ensemble." The ASU Wind Symphony will also be premiering a brand new work by Day written specifically for them.

Kevin Day: TBD (world premiere)
de Cabezon/Grainger: "Prelude in the Dorian Mode"
Gustav Holst/Matthews: "First Suite in Eb"
Frank Ticheli: "Blue Shades"
Darius Milhaud: "Suite Française"
Kevin Day: "Concerto for Wind Ensemble" (consortium premiere)

ASU Wind Ensemble — “The Answer, My Friend ...”
4 p.m. Feb. 20
Scottsdale Center for Performing Arts 

Join the ASU School of Music, Dance and Theatre for an afternoon of colorful and dynamic chamber wind music by ASU faculty and a performance of Milhaud's "Suite Française" by the ASU Wind Ensemble.

Darius Milhaud: "Suite Française"
Kevin Day: "Concerto for Wind Ensemble" (consortium premiere)

ASU Maroon and Gold Band
7:30 p.m. Feb. 22
ASU Gammage, Tempe campus

The first concert of the spring semester features a variety of traditional and contemporary music for winds.

ASU Wind Ensemble - Mozart’s "Gran Partita"
7:30 p.m. March 2; free
Katzin Concert Hall, Tempe campus

Conductor Kristen Zelenak directs an evening of chamber music.

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart: "Serenade No. 10 in B-flat major, K. 361/370a," "Gran Partita"

ASU Wind Symphony
10 a.m. March 24; purchase tickets
Madison Center for the Arts, Phoenix; directions

The ASU Wind Symphony performs a concert for students at the Madison Center for the Arts.

ASU Wind Symphony — "How Suite It is"
7:30 p.m. March 24; purchase tickets
Madison Center for the Arts, Phoenix; directions

The ASU Wind Symphony performs at the Madison Center for the Arts, featuring the music of Chad "Sir Wick" Hughes and Frank Ticheli. We also welcome our second guest conductor, Gregory Whitmore from California State University at Fullerton.

Matthew Schoendorff: "Fugue State"
Frank Ticheli: "Rest," Gregory Whitmore, guest conductor
Chad Hughes: "Symphonic Suite"
Alton Adams: "The Governor’s Own"
Erika Svanoe: "Steampunk Suite"

ASU Wind Ensemble — “Dahl’s Sinfonietta”
7:30 p.m. April 6
ASU Gammage, Tempe campus

The ASU Wind Ensemble performs Dahl's masterful "Sinfonietta" and features ASU professors Christopher Creviston, saxophone, and Joshua Gardner, clarinet, in the consortium premiere of Carter Pann's "Double Concerto."

Ingolf Dahl: "Sinfonietta"
Carter Pann: "Double Concerto," Christopher Creviston, saxophone, and Joshua Gardner, clarinet

ASU Wind Ensemble
7:30 p.m. April 14; free
Nelson Fine Arts Plaza, Tempe campus

ASU Maroon and Gold Bands and the ASU Wind Symphony — “Medieval Sketches”
7:30 p.m. April 26
ASU Gammage, Tempe campus

The ASU Wind Symphony travels back in time to present works that reflect on our past. Carl Orff’s towering “Carmina Burana” is based on 13th-century poems that tell of love, wine and fortune. We also feature Ron Nelson's “Homage to Perotin the Great,” one of the most famous composers of the era.

Ron Nelson: "Homage to Perotin"
Carl Orff/John Krance: "Carmina Burana"

ASU Symphony Orchestra and Wind Symphony
7:30 p.m. April 28
ASU Gammage, Tempe campus

Internationally renowned conductor Carl St.Clair leads the ASU Symphony Orchestra and ASU Wind Symphony in the 2021–22 season finale with works by Berlioz and Ticheli, ending with Respighi’s thunderous “Pines of Rome.”

Ron Nelson: "Homage to Perotin"
Frank Ticheli: "Rest"
Ticheli: "Blue Shades"
Berlioz: "Roman Carnival Overture"
Respighi: "Pines of Rome"

Lynne MacDonald

communications specialist, School of Music