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.