New Mexico Water eNews


October 2018

ENMU Graduate Student Conducts Research to Determine if Cultural Connection Can be Discerned in Irrigation Systems at Creekside Village in New Mexico
by Desiree Cooper, Eastern New Mexico University News

Christine Gilbertson, an Eastern New Mexico University graduate student studying anthropology and archaeology, is working on a grant project funded by the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) titled “Historic and Ancient Ditch Irrigation Inform Current Systems: A Cross Cultural Comparison from Creekside Village of Tularosa, New Mexico.” Her faculty advisor is Dr. John Montgomery, professor of anthropology at ENMU.

Christine began her investigations of the Creekside Jornada Mogollon site during ENMU’s Archaeology Field School in the summer of 2017. She plans to complete her master’s thesis in the spring of 2019.

She says the highlight of her research was the opportunity to present her poster at the NM WRRI Conference. “Being able to listen to the speakers at the conference was a real highlight for me. The exchange of ideas was fascinating and gave my own research meaning. Being able to work along with my fellow graduate students both in the field and in the lab were both heartening to work alongside as well as stimulating and challenging.”

She added that attending the WRRI Conference “opened up my eyes to a whole new world of both research opportunities and worldviews.”

Read entire article by clicking here.

 NM WRRI 63rd Annual New Mexico Water Conference Plenary Session

63rd Annual Water Conference Draws 280 Participants
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

Much needed rainfall greeted conference participants as they converged in Las Cruces for the 63rd Annual New Mexico Water Conference on October 17-18. At the Tipping Point: Water Scarcity, Science, and Policy  was the theme of this year’s conference that brought together 280 participants to the Las Cruces Convention Center.

The afternoon before the conference sessions began, 60 participants ventured to the Hatch and Mesilla Valleys to learn about a system-wide approach to managing stormwater supplies that are arriving in fewer and increasingly intense monsoonal bursts. Field trip hosts Connie Maxwell, PhD student from NMSU, and Gary Esslinger, manager of the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, described efforts by a broad coalition of stakeholders and collaborators, namely, the South Central Stormwater Management Coalition.

Over the day-and-a-half conference, water experts from New Mexico and the region addressed drought, climate change, agriculture and groundwater use, fire, economics, adjudications and settlements, alternative water supplies, and regional and state water planning. Slides from presentations are available on the conference website by clicking here.

The conference hosted two luncheons with speakers: retired New Mexico Interstate Stream Commissioner Jim Dunlap gave the 2018 Albert E. Utton Memorial Water Lecture; and Searchlight NM journalist Lauren Villagran, who has covered water issues along the US-Mexico border, described her reporting experiences while preparing a series of articles entitled, Two Nations, One Aquifer.

A highlight of the conference was the poster session where 62 presenters, many of whom were university students from across the state, described their current water-related research projects. As PDFs of posters become available by presenters, NM WRRI will post them on the conference website. See the current posters by clicking here.

A conference proceedings will be prepared in the coming months and will be available via the NM WRRI website.

Meet the Researcher

Amy Ganguli, New Mexico State University
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

Amy C. Ganguli is an Associate Professor in the Department of Animal and Range Sciences at New Mexico State University. She is an ecologist who conducts research on conservation strategies that promote rangeland and watershed health. Amy received a BS in wildlife biology and management from the University of Rhode Island, an MS in range science from Texas Tech University, and a PhD in range ecology from Oklahoma State University. “My diverse academic training and employment experiences have given me a toolbox that strongly supports multidisciplinary approaches to addressing complex problems faced by New Mexico stakeholders. Utilizing a bottom-up approach, my research is informed by extensive feedback from farmers and ranchers in New Mexico,” Ganguli explained.

Currently, Amy is leading an integrated research and extension project funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will support developing and refining strategies for farmers and ranchers that improve individual producer and community resiliency in times of drought and climate variability. This project involves working with producers to develop short- and long-term strategies that are proactive rather than reactive with the goal of maintaining ecological, social, and economic resilience. Ganguli said, “Understanding groundwater resources and climate patterns is at the root of informed decision-making at both local and regional levels. Adding this information to baseline monitoring of precipitation and plant productivity will provide landowners with the materials they need to make resilience-based decisions while contributing to regional and national datasets.”

On October 18, 2018, Amy addressed participants at NM WRRI’s 63rd Annual New Mexico Water Conference. She described the USDA project and the agroecosystem resilience concept, which is the capacity of a system to adapt to turbulent and unpredictable changes in its environment. Slides from her presentation are available here.

Fiscal Year 2019 Request for Proposals

NM WRRI Faculty Water Research Grant Program
Closing Date: 5:00 p.m., December 10, 2018

The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) announces availability of U.S. Geological Survey 104B grant funds to support research that improves planning and management of the waters of the state of New Mexico. For Fiscal Year 2019, NM WRRI anticipates funding up to three $30,000 grants with 104B funds. The final number of awards and project dollar amount awarded is contingent upon the availability of funds.

All water-related research proposals are eligible for funding. Proposals are sought from any academic discipline.

RFP available at FY 2019 NM WRRI Faculty Water Research Program.

NMSU Researchers Study Innovative Advanced Chemical Analysis of Water
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

NM WRRI announces the publication of technical completion report no. 378, a joint publication with the Bureau of Reclamation and its Desalination and Water Purification Research and Development Program (DWPR&DP Report No NMSU002). In 2017, NMSU faculty members Dr. Tanner Schaub and Dr. Jacqueline Jarvis from the NMSU Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Lab, along with Dr. Pei Xu and Dr. Nirmala Khandan from the NMSU Department of Civil Engineering, received funding through a cooperative agreement between Reclamation and NMSU. The cooperative agreement is a collaborative project that aims to increase scientific knowledge and research expertise in the area of alternative waters for water supply sustainability in New Mexico and the western U.S.

The one-year project culminated in a peer-reviewed publication: Advanced Chemical Analysis Capability for Alternative Water Source Research. The report is available in its entirety on the NM WRRI website by clicking here.

Executive Summary

Research projects that address non-traditional water source utilization and treatment in southern New Mexico require innovative analytical chemistry support to determine water source quality, to evaluate the efficacy of treatment technologies, and to monitor associated systems such as environmental discharge and food safety considerations. With the availability of two modern, ultrahigh resolution mass spectrometers and all ancillary sample preparation equipment, the NMSU Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Laboratory (CAIL) is a regionally unique resource for advanced chemical analysis. With this project, we have adapted CAIL’s state-of-the-art instrumentation capability to serve regional water research needs, specifically through the establishment of novel and robust characterization approaches for organic molecules in water based on high resolution mass spectrometry, including contaminants of emerging concern and their conversion products. Specific objectives are to improve instrument performance for wastewater applications (accomplished), identify and implement an appropriate mass spectral library search tool (accomplished), parametric selection (accomplished/in adaptation for various sample types and extractions), and implement appropriate extraction techniques (accomplished). This project established a new resource for water characterization at New Mexico State University, the utilization and optimization of which is now underway for specific applications.

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