New Mexico Water eNews


August 2019

Illustration provided by graphic recorder, Bob Diven, that captured shared ideas at the Proposal Planning Workshop.

NM WRRI Hosts Proposal Planning Workshop
by Holly Brause, NM WRRI Research Scientist

NM WRRI hosted the Border Water Solutions: Proposal Planning Workshop on August 1-2, 2019 in Las Cruces with support from New Mexico State University and the West Big Data Innovation Hub, and in collaboration with the Border Solutions Alliance and the Autonomous University of Chihuahua (Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua). Thirty-three participants attended, representing diverse disciplinary backgrounds from institutions in New Mexico, Texas, Arizona and Chihuahua.

The event began with welcome statements from Héctor Rubio Arias of Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua (UACH) and Sam Fernald (NM WRRI), and followed with “flash talks” given by each attendee to introduce the participants to one another. Morning presentations were given on the topics of Binational Institution Collaboration, and Proposal Fundability. During the afternoon session, the participants were divided into small groups to identify unifying water concerns, integrative approaches to study those concerns, and desired outcomes of the collaborative research. Each group later presented their ideas, and a lively open group discussion followed.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Reclamation Awards Dr. Frank Huang Funding from
the Desalination and Water Purification Research Program

by Jeanette Torres, NM WRRI Administrative Assistant

Dr. Frank Huang, Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering at the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, received a 104B seed faculty award, associated with the research grant between US Geological Survey and New Mexico State University in 2006 for his project entitled, Mitigation of Membrane Biofouling by Harnessing Bacterial Cannibalism. This grant is presented to researchers who show great potential and dedication to providing quality information concerning water availability, future consequences of water usage, and responding to water concerns as they arise. Additional funding from Sandia National Labs, and the State of New Mexico also helped pave the way for him to continue his research and provided the groundwork for his membrane experiments to flourish.

Dr. Huang’s research on membranes from 2005-2010 investigated several different properties (occurrence, prevention, and mitigation) of membrane fouling with a focus on biofouling and its environmental consequences (e.g., damage to the structural integrity of pipes and other structures). This issue was addressed in his study regarding bacterial cannibalism to help control biofouling in New Mexico. His research has resulted in a reliable solution to cleaning biofilm while helping reinstate membrane desalination to reclaim precious water for future usage.

Read entire article by clicking here.


Bureau of Reclamation - Upcoming Funding Opportunities
by Jeanette Torres, NM WRRI Administrative Assistant

The Bureau of Reclamation has recently announced two new funding opportunities for researchers who are seeking to address various water related concerns:

BOR-DO-19-F009, WaterSMART: Water Reclamation and Reuse Research under the Title XVI Program for Fiscal Year 2019. All research proposals must be submitted by September 23, 2019. For more information or to apply please go to

BOR-DO-20-F002, WaterSMART Drought Response Program: Drought Resiliency Projects for Fiscal Years 2020 and 2021. All interested candidates must submit their applications on October 16, 2019 for FY 2020 funding and on October 14, 2020 for FY 2021 project funding. For more information or to apply, please go to

Dr. Sarada Kuravi Awarded Desalination and Water Purification Research Grant for Solar Still Enhancements
by Jeanette Torres, NM WRRI Administrative Assistant

Dr. Sarada Kuravi, Assistant Professor of Thermal Science and Energy in the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and the Director of the Renewable Energy and Thermal Systems Laboratory at New Mexico State University, was recently awarded a Desalination and Water Purification Research grant for her proposed project concerning solar stills and improving their performance. This project entitled, Enhanced Solar Desalination using Innovative Approaches for Concentrate Treatment and Energy Recovery, will strive to not only increase the availability of fresh water in India but also in drought-affected areas within the Southwestern United States. With a budget of $300,000 (federal share of $150,000), the project period is awarded from January 2020 through June 2021.

Dr. Kuravi was awarded funding in 2017 through the Cooperative Agreement between the Bureau of Reclamation and New Mexico State University, Center for the Development and Use of Alternative Water Supplies . Her awarded project entitled, Low Cost, Low Energy Concentrate Water Desalination using Heat Recuperative Solar Still with Concentrating Solar Technology, spanned on designing an innovative solar still system to aid in water desalination by utilizing novel multidisciplinary engineering and science-centric elements to increase fresh water production and waste heat recovery. Kuravi has submitted three research papers on this subject for publication. Due to her findings and results from this Cooperative Agreement project, she was able to develop a solid foundation for her newly funded research.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Andrew Black Joins NM WRRI Staff
by Carolina Mijares, NM WRRI Program Manager

NM WRRI welcomed Andrew Black as a new staff member in March of this year. Andrew was hired as the institute’s systems analyst to support technology, manage the institute’s databases, and data analysis within NM WRRI. Andrew has been working on analyzing, designing and implementing information systems to provide useful information to researchers from gathered data.

Andrew comes to the institute with a background in information technology having completed a BA in information technology management from Trident University in 2017. After receiving his degree, he worked as an IT field technician for KForce Staffing Firm. Andrew also worked as a career counselor for Inverness Technologies. Andrew has obtained CompTIA A+, Network+, and Security+ certifications and is currently working towards his Linux+ certification.

Andrew enjoys spending time with family, camping, and traveling the Southwest. He also enjoys reading and learning about new and upcoming technologies.

“It is wonderful to be a part of something that has such a meaningful mission in our country! I enjoy learning about anything new, even if it is not within my job capacity. I have an extensive background with system hardware/sensors, which will assist me in my position. I look forward to helping the Institute in any capacity that is needed to ensure success.”

Meet the Researcher

Janie Chermak, Department of Economics, University
of New Mexico

by Carolina Mijares, NM WRRI Program Manager

Janie Chermak joined the faculty at the University of New Mexico in 1995 and served as the Chair of the Economics Department from 2012-2016. Dr. Chermak’s research and teaching interests include interdisciplinary modeling, applied microeconomics, and natural resource and environmental economics with an emphasis in energy, water, and invasive species.

Professor Chermak received a BA in geology from Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. Dr. Chermak obtained her MS and PhD in mineral economics from Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. From 2016-2017, Dr. Chermak was an invited member of the Science Advisory Council convened to review the science of the American Water Resources Association and the Journal of the American Water Resources Association. She also has served on the Albuquerque Bernalillo Water Utility Authority Technical Customer Advisory Committee since 2016 and is currently the Committee Chair.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Workshop participants gathered in the Laboratorio Nacional de Visualización Científica Avanzada auditorium of UNAM’s Juriquilla Campus in Querétaro (credit: Mark Sheely).

Pair of Events in Mexico Furthers NM WRRI Binational Collaboration Efforts
by Mark Sheely, NM WRRI Program Coordinator

Over the course of two weeks, two different events sent NM WRRI staff to two different states of Mexico to help grow binational collaboration efforts in addressing border water issues that affect both the United States and Mexico.

From August 8-9, 2019 the Healthy Borders, Healthy Waters Educational Curriculum Development Workshop was held at the Juriquilla campus of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM) just outside of the city of Querétaro. This workshop connected the National Science Foundation Research Coordination Network CE3SAR to ongoing Border Solutions Alliance activities. The goal of this workshop was to facilitate binational discussions to foster collaborative partnerships that could ultimately lead to the development of a foundation for a “Water for Healthy Borders” curriculum. Throughout the two-day workshop, attendees made up of faculty and grad students from across the Southwest and Mexico identified key drivers to water issues on the US-Mexico border that could be distilled into online course modules intended for a high school or early post-secondary audience. The module frameworks developed by four breakout groups examined topics such as consumptive water use amongst different social actors, using a forensic crime scene framework to teach students about basic hydrogeologic concepts, illustrated shared water management strategies through a case study of border cities sharing the same water, and examined water conservation practices through the lens of water equity.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Johnson Adio collecting stream flow and water quality data at the Rio Mora (photo provided by Johnson Adio).

NMHU Grad Student Wins Grant to Study Rio Mora Water Quality
by Albuquerque Journal Staff Report
Published: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 at 11:35pm
Updated: Wednesday, July 3rd, 2019 at 10:58pm

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico Highlands University geology graduate student Johnson Adio has landed a $6,500 grant to study water quality at the Rio Mora northeast of Las Vegas, N.M.

The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute awarded the money for his thesis research that focuses on a five-mile stretch of the river at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge.

“The measurements I will take are important because they give a general view of what is going on at the river, and how well it can accommodate endangered species of aquatic organisms,” Adio said in a statement.

“Knowing if and how water quality is changing in response to land use and climate change is imperative, as the quality of water in a system sets the basis for the rest of the ecosystem’s health,” he said, adding that Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge managers plan to use the findings to help guide land use decisions.

Adio plans to use stream gauges to measure flow and other instruments to measure acidity and dissolved oxygen in the water, according to a NMHU news release.

He also plans measure seasonal variations in the Rio Mora, giving a big picture of how organisms might adapt during the study expected to finish in the spring of next year.


November 6-8, 2019
Hilton Santa Fe Buffalo Thunder Resort and Casino
Pojoaque, NM


NM WRRI 64th Annual New Mexico Water Conference
Co-sponsored by Pueblo of Pojoaque



Common Water, Sacred Water:
Tribal perspectives on water issues in New Mexico


Field Trips
Poster Session


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