New Mexico Water eNews


May 2017

Alternative Water Supplies Grants Announced by NM WRRI
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

NM WRRI announced six faculty grant awards associated with the Cooperative Agreement between the Bureau of Reclamation and New Mexico State University, Research for the Development and Use of Alternative Water Supplies. NM WRRI Director Dr. Sam Fernald is the Lead Project Manager for the Cooperative Agreement. This project will help increase scientific knowledge and research expertise in the area of characterization, treatment, and use of alternative waters for water supply sustainability in New Mexico and the western U.S.

NMSU Principal Investigators receiving awards in response to the 2017 Request for Proposals include:

KC Carroll, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), Isotopic, Geochemical, and Modeling Evaluation of Source Water, Extraction Potential, and Potential Impacts of Using Brackish Water for Desalination in the Mesilla Basin, NM

Brian Hurd, Department of Ag Econ & Ag Bus, College of ACES, Valuing the Potential Contribution of Desalination and Water Reuse to the Water Supply Portfolio of Southern Dona Ana County, New Mexico

J. Phillip King, Department of Civil Engineering, College of Engineering, Assessment of Brackish Groundwater Desalination for Municipal and Industrial Water Supply in Santa Teresa, New Mexico


Sarada Kuravi, Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, College of Engineering, Low Cost, Low Energy Concentrate Water Desalination using Heat Recuperative Solar Still with Concentrating Solar Technology


Tanner Schaub, Chemical Analysis and Instrumentation Laboratory, College of ACES, Advanced Chemical Analysis Capability for Alternative Water Source Research

Manoj Shukla, Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES), Irrigation with Brackish Groundwater and Desalination Concentrate: Effect on Soil Microbial Properties, Plant Uptake and Ion Deposition in Soil

Congratulations to these NMSU researchers.

Deadline: July 26, 2017

The 62nd NM WRRI Annual New Mexico Water Conference will take place in Socorro, New Mexico on August 15-16, 2017 with the theme Hidden Realities of New Water Opportunities. A highlight of each year’s annual water conference is a poster session where participants can learn about current water research taking place around the state and region. The poster session, scheduled for Wednesday, August 16, offers a wonderful opportunity for networking with state and regional water experts. We anticipate about 200 attendees at this year's conference.

This Call for Poster Abstracts seeks abstracts for posters on any water research or management topic. We encourage interested students, researchers, and practitioners to submit poster abstracts via the online submission process. Abstracts for consideration for posters will be accepted through July 26, 2017. Notification of poster acceptance will be announced by July 31, 2017.

For submission guidelines and more information, click here.

NM WRRI Research Assistant Francisco Ochoa showcased the institute’s products at the Agricultural & Water Exposition in Chihuahua City, Mexico in May.

NM WRRI Staff Participate in Mexican Expo
by Francisco Ochoa, NM WRRI Research Assistant

The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute and New Mexico State University’s Water Science & Management graduate program were invited to attend the Agricultural & Water Exposition in Chihuahua City, Mexico along with a delegation from NMSU's College of Agriculture, Consumer and Environmental Science. The Expo was hosted by the state government of Chihuahua and the event can be compared to the annual AgFest held in Santa Fe during the legislative session.

Rod McSherry, one of the NMSU’s representatives to the Expo, said the purpose of the university’s participation was to “wave the NMSU flag in Mexico." Both NMSU and NM WRRI displayed a booth that served as an informational hub to recruit Mexican students to NMSU and to develop partnerships with our respective faculty and students in Mexican universities. Since southern New Mexico and Chihuahua share the same natural environment, the Chihuahuan Desert, we also face similar problems and challenges. The challenges and risks range from drought and climate change to the increasing demands on available water. By encouraging cooperation and dialogue, we can manage our ecosystem better and at the same time share the responsibility of making our home a better place.

NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant recipient Moticha Yellowman will collect well water samples along HW—285 between Pojoaque and Arroyo Seco, NM as part of a larger project, co-sponsored by the NM Environment Department, to test for general water chemistry and trace metals.

NMSU Undergraduate to Participate in the San Jose Mining District Groundwater Investigation
by Catherine Ortega Klett, NM WRRI Program Manager

Moticha Yellowman, an undergraduate in NMSU’s Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, will spend the next few weeks working with the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) on a study of wells in the Española Basin. Uranium in excess of the drinking-water standard has been detected in about half the wells in the study site. Many of the wells also contain high concentrations of arsenic. Some area residents have installed ion exchange and reverse osmosis treatment units to decrease contaminants levels from their well water. The Pojoaque Basin Regional Water System is scheduled to be constructed soon, and residents in the service area will have the option to either connect or remain on their private domestic wells.

The expected results of this project will better inform the public of the extent and magnitude of uranium contamination in the study area, of the potential risks, and of options for water treatment if high concentrations of uranium are detected in the sampled wells.

Moticha will work with NMED staff to run 13 well water samples for general water chemistry and trace metals along HWY-285 between Pojoaque and Arroyo Seco. She will work under the guidance of NMED’s Chief Scientist, Dennis McQuillan, and NMSU faculty member, Dr. Antonio Lara, also of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department. Moticha has received an NM WRRI Student Water Research Grant for the project and will prepare a final report on the project, which will be posted on the NM WRRI website.

(left) Dr. KC Carroll, from the Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, presented the academic achievement certificate and medallion to Dina Salman at the 2017 WSM Graduation Reception on Friday, May 5. (right) Both Kaavya Polisetti and Dina Salman were awarded with academic achievement certificates and medallions.

Congratulations to the WSM Graduates of Spring 2017!
by Jesslyn Ratliff, NM WRRI Program Specialist/WSM Student Program Coordinator

Congratulations to Dina Salman, PhD and Kaavya Polisetti, MS for completing their degrees in Water Science and Management.

Dina Salman earned her doctorate in Water Science and Management with a minor in Applied Statistics. Her academic advisor was Dr. Frank Ward from the Department of Ag Economics and Ag Business. Salman defended a dissertation entitled: Protecting Food, Environmental, and Water Security in the Middle East and South Asia: Opportunities for Iraq and Afghanistan. Salman plans to travel before applying for a postdoc.

Kaavya Polisetti earned her master’s degree in Water Science and Management. Her academic advisor was Dr. Nagamany Nirmalakhandan from the Department of Civil Engineering. Polisetti defended a thesis entitled: Growth and Biochemical Evaluation of Galdieria sulphuraria in Recycled AP of HTL. Polisetti plans to get her PhD in plant and environmental sciences at NMSU. She will focus on water treatments and remediation.

Staff and faculty from the WSM graduate degree program wish Dina and Kaavya the best of luck in their future endeavors.

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