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Center for Pima Basin Sustainability (CPBS)

  1. Conserve 2 Enhance
  2. Dispose A Med
  3. Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership
  4. Tucson Regional Clean Cities Coalition
  5. Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center

The Center for Pima Basin Sustainability (CPBS) serves as the fiscal umbrella and Board of Directors for these programs.

The CPBS identifies, promotes and supports sustainable technologies, infrastructure and processes for southern Arizona. Governed by an independent board of directors and working with Pima Association of Governments, the center provides staff support and other resources to assist its focus areas of environment, energy and transportation. The center’s mission is complementary to PAG’s Sustainable Environment Programs including Rideshare, Clean Cities, Water and Air. 

CPBS was established as a 501(c)3 as a means for the center's aligned entities to seek tax-deductible donations. View the link below for the structure of the CPBS.

Conserve 2 Enhance

Save Water, Save Rivers, Build Community

Tucson Conserve2EnhanceTM connects water conservation efforts to environmental benefits through community action. When you conserve water, you can turn your savings into C2E donations to help fund community grants that further enhance our urban waterways and wildlife habitats.

C2E is guided by the C2E Advisory Board whose key partners include Sonoran Institute, the University of Arizona Water Resources Research Center, Pima Association of Governments and Tucson Water.

Become a C2E Business Partner

Align your conservation goals with a community investment:

  • Lead by investing in a vibrant landscape and engaged community
  • Receive a free water audit, be guided through rebate programs, learn water conservation tips that best fit your site, and view your water savings impact through the C2E website (a private and automated tracker)
  • Save money and impact your bottom line and our region's economic vitality
  • Gain regionwide exposure for your business across the Tucson region
  • Show customers you care for our local environment and reach new audiences

To learn more or to become a business partner, call (520) 495-1429 or visit:

This voluntary, donation-based program is a means to fund environmental enhancement projects in water department service areas in the region. C2E offers water use databases, grant reviews, restoration site implementation and participant newsletters. Currently, C2E pans much of the Pima County Wastewater Service area and all of the Tucson Water Service area, which cross into portions of every PAG member jurisdiction.  





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Dispose A Med

Impacts of Improper Pharmaceutical Disposal

Proper pharmaceutical disposal is vital to public health and the environment. When pharmaceuticals are washed down the drain or flushed down the toilet, for example, they contaminate our wastewater.

At the same time, if pharmaceuticals are thrown in with the trash without the proper precautions, they can be found and consumed by children or pets.

In support of proper pharmaceutical disposal, Pima Association of Governments is a partner of Pima County’s Dispose-A-Med program, which supports pharmaceutical take-back events throughout the county.

In the Tucson region, treated effluent is released into rivers and washes, where it can infiltrate our soil and groundwater, carrying pharmaceutical residues with it.

Since medications are produced from an ever-changing array of complex chemicals, current technology does not allow wastewater treatment facilities to remove all these chemical wastes from effluent.

Safe Disposal Methods

Pharmaceutical take-back programs, such as Pima County’s Dispose A Med program, allow law enforcement and local organizations to team up and collect unused or expired pharmaceuticals from the public.

Instead of throwing away or flushing pharmaceuticals, you can participate in a take-back event near you. For more information about the program and an event schedule, please visit Dispose-A-Med.

So far, the Dispose-A-Med program has been very successful. On Sept. 25, 2010, Dispose-A-Med partners participated in the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day. Of the 3 tons of unused or expired pharmaceuticals collected throughout Arizona, Pima County residents contributed 1 ton.

Although take-back programs are preferred, if you are unable to attend a take-back event and you urgently need to dispose of medications, it is possible to throw them in the trash without risking the health of children or pets. Be sure to follow these steps:

  • Pour pills or liquid medication into a water-tight, opaque container, such as an empty margarine tub.
  • For pills, add enough warm water to partially dissolve them and form a paste. For liquid medications, you may skip this step.
  • Mix in used coffee grounds, kitty litter, soil, or another undesirable substance.
  • Place a lid on the container, seal it with packing or duct tape, bag it, and throw it in the trash.
  • Before disposing of prescription bottles, be sure to remove and destroy all labels to avoid identity theft.

Long-Term Health Care Facilities

Many patients in long-term health care facilities (nursing homes, hospice care, etc.) have numerous prescriptions. In 2009, PAG surveyed long-term health care facilities in Tucson to determine common pharmaceutical disposal practices and to assess the willingness of these facilities to participate in take-back programs.

PAG found that a majority of facilities relied upon pharmaceutical pick-ups and hazardous waste collection sites for disposal. In addition, most facilities indicated that they were interested in participating in regional take-back programs, especially site pick-ups, and some even offered to help develop a take-back program that will fit their needs.

For information about pharmaceutical waste disposal in healthcare facilities, visit Practice Greenhealth.

For more information about the program and an event schedule, visit:

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Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership

Southern Arizona, with over 300 days of sunshine each year, is uniquely positioned to use solar energy. By diversifying our region's energy portfolio through the use of solar power, we subsequently become more energy independent. The use of solar power helps support a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and the creation of a vibrant local solar industry built on solar installer expertise.

The Southern Arizona Regional Solar Partnership seeks to increase awareness of solar energy opportunities through education and outreach. A cooperative effort among government agencies, local businesses, local electric utilities, solar manufacturers, solar installers and individuals, the Solar Partnership encourages the use of solar energy by identifying the benefits of using solar and educates others about solar opportunities to support our solar economy.

The partnership was established in 2008 in conjunction with a grant the City of Tucson received from Solar America Cities to develop the Greater Tucson Solar Energy Development Plan and City Solar Integration Plan. In 2013, the Solar Partnership established a professional technical training subcommittee. The key mission is to provide education and training to solar installers, and to partner with various organizations for continuing education opportunities and peer-to-peer inspections. Previously, these tasks had been conducted by the Southern Arizona Solar Standards Board. The Board was independently active from 2011 to 2013.

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Tucson Regional Clean Cities Coalition

Pima Association of Governments manages Tucson Clean Cities, a voluntary program of the U.S. Department of Energy to advance the nation's economic, environmental and energy security by supporting local actions to reduce the use of petroleum in transportation and promoting the use of alternative-fuel vehicles and fuels, along with building a local refueling infrastructure for these vehicles. Alternative fuels include biodiesel, ethanol (E85), compressed natural gas, propane, hybrid electric, fuel cell and hydrogen technologies.

Tucson Clean Cities, through its Tucson Regional Clean Cities Coalition of over 90 members, works with local businesses and government to guide them through the process necessary to establish the foundation for a viable alternative fuels market.

For more information visit:

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Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center

In southern Arizona, the rapid spread of the invasive plant known as buffelgrass and the slow conversion of the previously flameproof desert to flammable grassland as buffelgrass invades more areas has become the region's most pressing environmental issue. Without coordinated and decisive regional action, the Tucson region will soon face the threat of frequent and extensive fires, threats to conservation areas and initiatives, and significant economic impacts, from reduced property values to lost tourist revenues.

Both the public and private sectors are quickly ramping up to meet the buffelgrass challenge. The following significant events reflect the increasing concern regarding buffelgrass:

  • In 2005, Arizona Statute R3-4-244 approved listing of buffelgrass as a Regulated and Restricted Noxious Weed.
  • Pima County Board of Supervisors adopted Resolution No. 2005-165 to manage buffelgrass and other invasive species. Strict ordinances are now being drafted and vetted by municipal and county governments to help eliminate buffelgrass and other invasive species on private property and utility and road right-of-ways.
  • A Buffelgrass Summit was held on February 9, 2007 to mobilize government agencies and public officials.
  • On March 1, 2008, PAG organized the first region-wide volunteer effort to conduct buffelgrass removal on a single day.
  • In 2008, the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Strategic Plan was completed and identified five key strategies that provide the framework for successfully managing buffelgrass infestations within the region.
  • In 2008, the Southern Arizona Buffelgrass Coordination Center (SABCC), a 501 c 3 organization, was formed.
  • On July 10, 2008, a Buffelgrass Policy Forum was held to initiate an aggressive outreach effort to inform and engage the general public and motivate business leaders.
  • On February 7, 2009, PAG organized the second annual volunteer effort to remove buffelgrass.

Get Involved

Controlling buffelgrass infestations demands multiple treatments of the same patches over consecutive years, sustained commitment, careful documentation, and focused evaluation of treatment success.Several groups meet monthly to remove buffelgrass. Learn more about the activities of these groups through the:

When removing buffelgrass you should take reasonable precautions to ensure your safety (and those working with you). Use gloves, wear boots, long pants and be aware of common hazards found in natural areas. Buffelgrass removal along roadsides should not be conducted except through the guidance of the agency responsible for the roadway. Buffelgrass removal should only be conducted on private property with the express permission of the landowner. Removal of buffelgrass requires physical exertion and volunteers should consider their medical condition before participating. Anyone with a medical condition that could be adversely affected by physical exertion should avoid engaging in buffelgrass removal.

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