Denice Smith Photo credit: Bob McCarthy

Denice Smith, Biologist and Water Harvester

Wednesday, March 8, 2023,

2:30pm – 4:00 pm,

ASA Koffler Great Room & Zoom

Tucson receives an average annual rainfall of eleven inches, often as torrential monsoon storms which cause flooding and erosion.  If that rain could be captured, it could theoretically meet the indoor and outdoor demands for the entire Tucson population.  However, much of the moisture returns to the atmosphere by evaporation and plant transpiration, or is carried down slope in arroyos and rivers north to Pinal and Maricopa counties.  Significant recharge of the aquifers underlying Tucson occurs only after sequential storms totaling five inches of rain or more. 

We will explore our own watershed and water harvesting steps we can take to reduce our demand on the local aquifer.  We will learn how to calculate the volume of rainwater that can be captured from our properties, the water needs of our landscape plants, and how we can design a water harvesting system that may incorporate infiltration basins, rainwater tanks, and/or a laundry-to-landscape approach to meet those needs.

Denice Smith, born and raised in Tucson, obtained B.S. and M.S. degrees in Biology from the University of Arizona, and a Ph.D. in Cell Biology from Dartmouth College.  She held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Biozentrum in Basel, Switzerland, studying homeobox genes in development.  She taught Cell Biology and Biochemistry at the College of Charleston and Christopher Newport University, and collaborated with Robert McCarthy to research developmental pattern formation in zebrafish, estuarine mummichog fish, and blue crabs.  Denice retired in March of 2020 from ARUP Laboratories, a non-profit reference laboratory owned by the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, where she served at various times as a Cytology Specialist, Cytology Supervisor, and R & D Scientist.  Since returning to Arizona in 2019, Denice has found a new passion in water harvesting, completing a design certification with Watershed Management Group in December of 2022.

Written and Edited by Denice Smith, Academy Village Volunteer

You can connect to Zoom either by using the following URL: or by opening a browser to and typing in Meeting ID: 954 5651 1620 and Passcode: 85747 

Mar 8: “A Guide to Becoming More Hydro-local:  An Intro to Water Harvesting Design”