New Mexico Water eNews


November 2017

ENMU graduate student Andrew Letter holds a Western River Cooter (Pseudemys gorzugi).

ENMU Graduate Student Monitors Water Quality
on the Black River in New Mexico

by Wendel Sloan, Eastern New Mexico University Communications Services

Andrew Letter, an Eastern New Mexico biology major who expects to graduate with a master’s degree in the spring of 2018, completed a grant project funded by the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) titled “Monitoring water quality parameters within a known range of Western River Cooter (Pseudemys gorzugi) within Black River Drainage.” His faculty supervisor was Dr. Ivana Mali, ENMU assistant professor of biology.

Andrew conducted the study from September 2016 to June 2017 along two 1500-meter stretches of the Black River (tributary of the Pecos River) in Eddy County, New Mexico.

He says the “highlights of our research were being able to begin consistent long-term monitoring of the water quality along our two study sites on the Black River. We observed differences between the sites, which are separated by a subterraneous flow of the river. By collecting future data, we can test to see how these parameters change year to year and determine if they have any effects on other variables along the river, such as vegetation and algal growth.”

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Meet the Researcher

Esther Xu, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

Esther Xu is an MS student and research assistant in the Hydrology Program at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NMT). She is part of the NMT team working on NM WRRI’s Statewide Water Assessment (SWA) effort. The SWA is a comprehensive, and previously unavailable, compendium of water storage and flows in New Mexico.

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NM WRRI Welcomes PhD Student from the China Agricultural University
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

NM WRRI is hosting visiting scholar Xiaojie Li, who is conducting research under the academic advisement of Shaozhong Kang of China Agricultural University (CAU). She is adding international experience to her academic program as a doctoral student by studying at New Mexico State University. Xiaojie’s program supports the goals of the New Mexico State University-CAU Water Science and Engineering Joint Research Center, and Dr. Sam Fernald is helping her with her research as part of the joint program. She will study the impacts of climate change on regional evapotranspiration and water demand.

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Researchers visit double-lined earthen impoundment used for storing produced water.

Researchers Address Water Scarcity
NMSU Joins Others to Study Alternatives

by Darrell J. Pehr, New Mexico State University News Services

Southeastern New Mexico is facing water scarcity issues, and with an increased demand for freshwater, there is a need for alternative water sources in Eddy and Lea counties.

Last year, faculty and staff from New Mexico State University and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute teamed up with researchers from around the state for a feasibility study on the reuse of produced water. The feasibility study also included researchers from Los Alamos National Laboratory, New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, and New Mexico Energy, Minerals and Natural Resources Department. Funding was provided by the Environmental Protection Agency through the New Mexico Environment Department. More details about the project can be found at

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USGS Issues RFP for National Grant Program
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

The U.S. Geological Survey has announced February 15, 2018, 5:00 pm EST, as the deadline for preproposals associated with its Water Resources Research National Competitive Grants Program.

If you are interested in submitting a preproposal, please contact NM WRRI Director Sam Fernald (575-646-4337; or Cathy Ortega Klett (575-646-1195; as soon as possible. The preproposal and budget should be reviewed by NM WRRI not later than February 1, 2018.

The U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the National Institutes for Water Resources is requesting preproposals for matching grants to support research on the topic of improving and enhancing the nation’s water supply, including evaluation of innovative approaches to water treatment, infrastructure design, retrofitting, maintenance, management, and replacement; exploration and advancement of our understanding of changes in the quantity and quality of water resources in response to a changing climate, population shifts, and land use changes; development of methods for better estimation of water supply, both surface and groundwater, including estimation of the physical supply and of the economic supply of water; development and evaluation of processes and governance mechanisms for integrated surface/ground water management; and the evaluation and assessment of conservation practices.

This program provides university researchers with up to $250,000 for projects of 1 to 3 years in duration. It requires a 1:1 non-federal match. The intent of the program is to encourage projects with collaboration between universities and the USGS. Funds have not yet been appropriated for this program for FY 2018 and the Government's obligation under this program is contingent upon the availability of funds. The RFP at gives information on past year funding including award amounts and funding success rates.

   Manoj Shukla, a soil physics professor from NMSU’s Plant and Environmental Sciences
   department, shown here with a drip irrigation system for chile, has been part of the
   W-3128 microirrigation research team for more than 13 years. The research group will
   receive the 2018 National Water and Energy Conservation Award in November.
   (Courtesy Photo)

NMSU Researchers to Receive National Water and Energy Conservation Award
by Ximena Tapia, New Mexico State University News Services

A western multistate research group that includes New Mexico State University will receive the 2018 National Water and Energy Conservation Award in November for their research project “Scaling Microirrigation Technologies to Address the Global Water Challenge.”

Steve Loring, Associate Director for the Agricultural Experiment Station System at NMSU’s College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences, will be accepting the award on behalf of the W-3128 multistate research group. The group consists of 43 participants from 22 different universities and four federal labs.

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