New Mexico Water eNews


May 2019

NM WRRI Announces 2019 Student Water Research Grants
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Senior Program Manager

Sixteen students from across the state will be conducting water research with newly awarded funding by NM WRRI. The one-year grants will start on June 1, 2019 and will support graduate students at NMSU, UNM, NM Tech, and NMHU.

Financial support for the program was made possible by State of New Mexico appropriations and Bureau of Reclamation-New Mexico State University Cooperative Agreement funding. The grants support the training of New Mexico’s future water experts and are intended to help students initiate water research projects or to supplement existing projects. Grants of up to $6,500 were awarded. Students work under the supervision of a faculty advisor and provide the NM WRRI with a final project report. Projects also will be featured in the “New Mexico Water eNews” in the coming months. Most grant recipients will be presenting posters on their research at the 64th Annual New Mexico Water Conference in Pojoaque, NM on November 8, 2019.

Final student grant reports for 2018 are available by clicking here.

Congratulations to this year’s NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant Program recipients.

Balancing Point: Renewable Resources and Impacts on Ecological Sustainability
Study assesses impacts of water flow management through El Vado Dam

by Rachel Whitt, UNM Communications & Marketing

New research from a University of New Mexico graduate student looks at the tenuous relationship between preserving one of New Mexico’s most scenic waterways, while also providing continuous access to alternative energy sources.

Suzanne Stradling, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Economics, is conducting a study through a partnership between UNM and the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, titled Hydroelectric management on the Rio Chama: examining costs and benefits from nonconsumptive flow management between the El Vado and Abiquiu reservoirs. She initiated the research following an internship with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, after which she began looking for ways to make renewable energy more reliable. Stradling says since solar and wind energy are intermittent, hydroelectricity could be the bridge to sustainable renewable energy use.

“Hydropower is the only zero-carbon generation that has the ability to flex to support intermittent renewables,” she said.

Read entire article by clicking here.

Register Now!

June 19-20, 2019
San Juan College, Henderson Fine Arts Center, Farmington, NM


Tuesday, June 18, 2019

9:00 am - 12:00 pm OR 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm

This event will feature demonstrations of sampling techniques used on the Animas and San Juan Rivers to monitor water quality. Demonstrations include benthic macroinvertebrate sampling, water quality sampling, sediment sampling, flow measurements, and assessing stream/riparian habitat and land use. Both sessions will be identical and held at Berg Park in Farmington, NM. 

Friday, June 21, 2019
9:00 am - 1:00 pm, Shiprock Chapter House
(breakfast & lunch provided)

Flash Talk presentations (three-minute summary talks) will be made by scientists and others who have been conducting sampling and research on the impacts of the August 2015 Gold King Mine spill. Join us to learn about the research that has been done, by whom, and the most recent results. There is no charge for attending, but please RSVP with Peggy Risner at 575-646-1813 or by email at

Saturday, June 22, 2019

10:00 am to 2:30 pm
Conference participants are invited to take part in an informative and adventurous rafting trip down the Lower Animas River on Saturday, June 22. Learn the history of the region and stories of local traditions during the 4.5 hours round trip (3 hours on the water). During the trip’s Santa Rita Park stop, we will hear from water experts who will discuss the geology of the Durango area and water issues facing the region.
Participants register and pay for the trip ($65 plus 7% fee) with Mild to Wild Rafting via a link that has been set up for our field trip:
      Jackson Powers stands in a warm season turfgrass research plot located at Fabian
     Garcia Research Center.

NMSU Graduate Student Studying Herbicide Phytotoxicity
in Turfgrass Under Drought Conditions

by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Senior Program Manager

Water management is one of the most pressing issues turfgrass managers face in the arid regions of the world. In response to reduced water supplies, governments routinely enact policies that restrict the use of potable water for non-essential uses. In New Mexico, regional and local climate change impacts may result in increased evaporation, reduced irrigation flows, and decreased soil moisture available for turfgrass growth.

Ornamental crops like turfgrass provide many environmental benefits like soil erosion reduction, increased oxygen production, ambient temperature reduction, and esthetically pleasing and low-cost ground cover for recreational purposes. Herbicides are the primary management tool used to reduce difficult-to-control weeds in turfgrass stands. Therefore, it is important to investigate how to optimize herbicide applications under drought conditions, given that drought-stressed plants may be more vulnerable to herbicide toxicity, and that the efficacy of herbicides may be reduced under such conditions.

This is the subject of a research project being conducted by Jackson Powers, a master’s degree student in horticulture in the NMSU Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. In partial support of his research, last year Jackson received an NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant entitled: Herbicide Phytotoxicity Under Drought Conditions in Warm and Cool Season Turfgrass. Jackson has been working in collaboration with his faculty advisor, Dr. Ryan Goss, an associate professor in the same department.

Read entire article by clicking here.

“Agua es vida,” or “Water is life,” said U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small as she discussed the importance of multi-agency, multi-government collaboration to ensure water sustainability for the region. (Photo credit: Josh Bachman/New Mexico State University)

Two Nations One Water
U.S.-Mexico experts work together for water

by Martha C. Koester, El Paso Water

Though the elephant in the room (Texas v. New Mexico court case) loomed large, hundreds of water researchers and experts who converged for the second annual Two Nations One Water summit April 24-25 in Las Cruces, New Mexico, quickly went to work to explore water strategies for managing shared water resources amidst drought, climate uncertainties and population growth.

U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small (NM), U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (NM) and U.S. Rep. Veronica Escobar (TX) kicked off the conference by thanking the diverse group for collaborating on the real challenges of the U.S.-Mexico border region that include strategies on water management.

“This cooperation is an example of the type of work and good faith negotiations that will be required from all sides to help find solutions in other conflicts,” said Torres Small, who is also a water attorney. “Everyone in this room is here today because you know the future of the West largely depends on one thing – water.”

Read entire article by clicking here.

Desalination and Water Purification Funding Opportunity

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation has announced a funding opportunity for desalination and water purification pilot projects. The novel “pitch to pilot” program is seeking new innovative technologies or processes. Top applicants will pitch their ideas at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility in Alamogordo, NM. Reclamation anticipates awarding four to six agreements of up to $150,000 per agreement. June 25, 2019 is the deadline for proposals. Finalists will present their proposals in Alamogordo in late August 2019.

Learn more about this funding opportunity at and searching for funding opportunity number BOR-CO-19-F017.

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