New Mexico Water eNews


March 2017

                Johnny Ray Hinojosa conducts research on analogous sedimentary
               structures to the Loma Blanca Fault at White Sands National Monument.

NM Tech Student to Study Fault Zone Geology to Help Gauge Subsurface Water Flow
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager?

Two of the greatest impediments to predicting the impact of faults on fluid flow in the subsurface are: 1) fault seal models inadequately account for fault-zone cementation, and 2) there is insufficient field-scale hydrologic data that directly test conceptual models of fault seal. Current models try to take into account how slippage along the fault juxtaposes sedimentary rock units of different properties, thereby affecting the permeability of the fault to fluid flow. But they mostly ignore the additional reduction in permeability resulting from fault-zone cementation caused by the precipitation of calcite (calcium carbonate) crystals from water flowing through the sedimentary matrix. NM Tech faculty, Drs. G. Spinelli, Geophysics; P.S. Mozley, Geology; and J. Wilson, Hydrology, have received funding from the National Science Foundation to study various aspects of this problem. However, no funding had been available for the detailed characterization of the host sediment and fault-zone rock. Johnny Ray Hinojosa, a NM Tech master's student in geology, in collaboration with Drs. Mozley and Spinelli, will use an NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant to cover research expenses associated with geologic field work, and the acquisition and analysis of samples taken from the Loma Blanca fault in the Rio Grande Rift near Socorro, NM.

Read more

San Juan Lions Park, New Mexico. Photo by Sarah Holcomb.

Join us on June 22, 2017 for a field trip associated with the 2nd Annual Conference on Environmental Conditions of the Animas and San Juan Watersheds with emphasis on Gold King Mine and Other Mine Waste Issues. The one-day field trip will explore the geology, mining, agriculture, and water resources issues in the Animas River and San Juan watersheds of northern New Mexico and southwestern Colorado. The field trip includes stops to U.S. Geological Survey gaging stations as well as a stop in Silverton, CO for an overview of the Bonita Peak Mining District and Superfund process. The Silverton field trip stop will include a short hike for spectacular views of Cement Creek, North Fork Cement Creek, and the Red and Bonita former mine sites.

Limited space is available on the tour so be sure to register early. Registration for the conference and the field trip are at:

Animas Watershed Field Trip Preliminary Itinerary

June 22, 2017

6:45 am    Assemble at San Juan College in front of Henderson Fine Arts
                 Center; to-go breakfast items provided (mini-breakfast burritos,
                 yogurt, juice, coffee); check-in and board buses

7:00          Depart San Juan College

7:20          Stop 1, Boyd Park in Farmington
                 Discussion leaders: San Juan Soil & Water
                 Conservation District (SJSWCD), Navajo Nation, U.S. Geological
                 Survey (USGS)
                 •  Watershed overview
                 •  Surface water quality issues (metals, nutrients, microbes)
                 •  USGS gaging station and water-quality sonde

8:20          Depart Boyd Park

8:40          Stop 2, Farmington Lake
                 •  Conceptual model for Animas watershed system: NM Bureau
                     of Geology & Mineral Resources (NMBG&MR), NM Environment
                     Department (NMED), USGS
                 •  Public, private and agricultural uses of ground and surface
                     water in the watersheds: SJSWCD, City of Farmington (CoF),
                     City of Aztec (CoA), New Mexico State University (NMSU)

To view full itinerary, click here.

Professor Edward A. Martinez collects stream water samples and sonde measurements in East Fork, Valles Caldera.

Meet the Researcher

Dr. Edward A. Martinez, New Mexico Highlands University
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

Edward Martinez, originally from northern New Mexico, earned a BS in environmental science from Highlands University (NMHU), an MS in environmental and regional planning, and a PhD in environmental and natural resources sciences from Washington State University, Pullman in 2000. He conducted postdoctoral work at Washington State University with the Department of Natural Resources and with the School of Veterinary Science from 2001-2002. He was an assistant professor at California State University, Sacramento, from 2002-2005. Since 2005, Dr. Martinez has worked as a professor in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Highlands. Currently, he is serving as the interim VP for strategic enrollment management at NMHU.

Dr. Martinez’ research interests are in the multidisciplinary fields of environmental science, specifically in heavy metal impacts on aquatic systems, lake restoration and management, stream characterization and restoration, and heavy metal toxicity of aquatic insects. He is also interested in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education and has led numerous STEM education grants from various granting agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Hispanic-Serving Institutions Grants Program, U.S. Department of Education, National Science Foundation S-STEM, Kellogg Foundation, and the NSF EPSCoR (Established Program to Stimulate Competitive Research) program.

Since the NM WRRI Student Water Research Grants program began in 2003, six of Dr. Martinez’s students have received funding. Three of the students have completed their degree programs and three others are working toward degree completion. Dr. Martinez recently said, “The NM WRRI student funding has allowed me to mentor students on their research projects while allowing me to continue my own research. The NM WRRI award provides students with an opportunity that many students do not experience while attending graduate school. They learn to write a proposal, adhere to a research timeline, manage a budget, and submit a final report—skills that are invaluable to a young scientist.”

Figure 1. Future scenario conceptual structure of model surface water flows and calculations

New Mexico Water Budget Model Enhanced to Include Future Scenarios
by Joshua Randall, NM WRRI

The New Mexico Dynamic Statewide Water Budget (NMDSWB) has been updated to include proof-of-concept future scenario inputs to expand its capabilities for future water resources planning.

As part of the Statewide Water Assessment (SWA), the historic portion of the NMDSWB model consolidates historic water supply and use data into an easily accessed platform. The NMDSWB uses four “stocks” (storages of water) and sixteen “flows” (movements of water) to calculate monthly water budgets from 1975-2012. These balances are calculated at four spatial resolutions: counties, water planning regions, river basins, and statewide.

In order to make the NMDSWB a more useful planning tool, a preliminary scenario portion has been developed to provide water resources estimates into the future. This future scenario portion builds upon the historic model, using a similar system dynamics framework and calculating the same “stocks” and “flows.” In the historic model, the water budgets for each spatial area (e.g., counties) are calculated independently of one another based on available historic data. The future scenario portion of the NMDSWB uses modeled surface water inflows at the top of the state and connects each accounting unit to this flow. As water flows through the system, the mass balance of water is maintained for each accounting unit and any remaining water flows into the next downstream unit (Figure 1). This hydrologic connection prevents water from being “double counted” and allows insight into how upstream diversions affect downstream flows.

With the updated structural changes, the future portion of the model is able to incorporate scenario inputs. The three preliminary inputs that have been developed are: 1) Climate Change; 2) Population Growth; and 3) Efficiency.

Climate change is the main driver of the model moving forward. It incorporates four separate climate emission scenarios based on three Global Circulation Model (GCM) runs. This scenario provides the precipitation, surface water flows, and temperature for the future portion of the model. Population growth can be altered from the predicted population change to determine the effects of public and domestic water use. The efficiency metrics allow for a change in either agricultural efficiency or human use efficiency again to examine the impacts of water use on the overall water budget at different spatial resolutions. These scenarios allow a user to create a specific future scenario based on a combination of parameters that are of interest.

The preliminary future scenario tool was presented to the Water Planning Program of the Interstate Stream Commission on March 17, 2017 to showcase how the NMDSWB can be used as a tool for water planners, users, and scientists in New Mexico. The scenario tool aims to be one of many helpful technical data resources to be featured in the State Water Plan update. The NMDSWB is still in development, continuing to improve on these current scenarios, integrating other research from the SWA, and incorporating new scenarios. The online web model that runs the historic water budget model is being enhanced to include the new future NMDSWB model and corresponding scenarios.

Project collaborators include Jesse Roach (PE, PhD) and Ken Peterson (MS), Tetra Tech Inc.; Bruce Thomson (PhD), UNM; Vince Tidwell (PhD), Sandia National Laboratories; and Joshua Randall (MS) and Austin Hanson (BS),

NMSU Assistant Professor Reza Foudazi (left) loads a sample in the differential scanning calorimetry device for characterization. Chemical engineering graduate students join him: (left to right) Elijah Wade, Ryan Zowada, and Alireza Bandegi. (NMSU photo by Cameron Riggs)

Chemical Engineer Investigates More Efficient and Effective Water Treatment Technology
by Linda Fresques, NMSU College of Engineering

Reza Foudazi, chemical engineering assistant professor at New Mexico State University, is developing innovative technologies to alleviate a critical worldwide problem: access to clean water.

Foudazi’s goal is to develop a water and wastewater purification method that uses less energy, costs less, and uses a more ecofriendly alternative to removing bacteria than current technologies. Although his research focuses on water purification, the technology also has biomedical uses. His research is funded by the NM Water Resources Research Institute and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

“It’s a global problem,” he said. “Alleviating the adverse effects of contaminated drinking water is one of the biggest world challenges of our time. Access to clean water is not always available in remote and rural areas where power needed to run filtration systems is unavailable. It’s also a problem in urban areas, like Flint, Michigan.” In 2014, toxic lead from aging pipes leached into Flint’s water supply serving a community of 100,000.

Read more

Follow us on Twitter!
NM WRRI website
Copyright © 2017 New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, All rights reserved.
eNews design by Peggy S. Risner

subscribe   unsubscribe from this list

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp