NMT To Host 62nd Annual Water Conference

NMT To Host 62nd Annual Water Conference

SOCORRO, N.M. – New Mexico Tech will host the Water Resource Research institute’s 62nd Annual New Mexico Water Conference for the first time on August 15 and 16.

NMT President Dr. Stephen Wells will deliver the opening talk, titled The Landscape of Water – Past, Present and Future. Several NMT and Bureau of Geology scientists will be featured panelists during the event. The theme of this year’s conference is “Hidden Realities of New Water Opportunities.”

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An arroyo near Socorro runs during a recent thunderstorm. Water resources will take center stage at the WRRI Conference in Socorro on August 15 and 16.

Photo by Kyle Stark/New Mexico Tech E&ES Department

“We’re grateful that the WRRI chose Socorro for its conference for the first time because we are able to highlight the talent we have at New Mexico Tech,” Wells said. “We are also pleased to showcase our partnerships with the Institute.”

Other New Mexico Tech panelists include hydrology professor Jan Hendrickx, Bureau hydrologists Stacy Timmons, Alex Rinehart, and Talon Newton.

Dr. Nelia Dunbar, Director of the Bureau of Geology at NMT said, “New Mexico Tech and WRRI have collaborated for decades on water-related research in New Mexico. New Mexico Tech is a center of world-class hydrology research and teaching, and between the Earth and Environmental Science Department, the New Mexico Bureau of Geology, and other campus groups, we will be able to showcase a range of cutting-edge research projects at the conference next week.

The day-and-a-half conference will take place at the Macey Center. Registration is available online at https://nmwaterconference.nmwrri.nmsu.edu/2017/

“We are excited to have our conference at New Mexico Tech for the first time,” WRRI Program Manager Catherine Ortega Klett said. “Tech has beautiful facilities and we look forward to being in Socorro.”

Following Dr. Wells, U.S. Senator Tom Udall will update participants on federal efforts related to water, including action on the federal Drought Bill. Udall will also moderate a panel of representatives from various water sectors in New Mexico that includes Myron Armijo, Beth Bardwell, Terry Brunner, John Fleck, Paula Garcia, and Tanya Trujillo. Speaker and panelist biographical sketches are available on the conference website.

Also scheduled for the morning session is State Engineer Tom Blaine, who will provide an update on state water issues. Dr. William Alley will give Tuesday’s luncheon address. He was Chief, Office of Groundwater for the U.S. Geological Survey for almost two decades and is currently Director of Science and Technology for the National Ground Water Association. Dr. Alley and Rosemarie Alley, freelance writer, are a scientist/nonscientist writing team. Their latest book is High and Dry: Meeting the Challenges of the World’s Dependence on Groundwater.

Several panel discussions will feature experienced water specialists addressing questions on farmland retirement, innovations in watershed management, underground storage and recovery projects, use of brackish and impaired waters in New Mexico, and the Rio Grande Compact. The Wednesday luncheon will feature an update on the NM WRRI’s major water initiative, the Statewide Water Assessment.

Conference attendees are encouraged to take part in one of two optional field trips scheduled on Monday, August 14 – one hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation to the river restoration project in the San Acacia Reach; and another trip to the San Agustin Plains, hosted by the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Aquifer Mapping Program.

Everyone is invited to attend a reception on Monday, August 14 from 4:30-6:00 in the atrium at the NM Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources. The Mineral Museum and gift shop will be open and you can enjoy appetizers, a cash bar, and talk with your friends and colleagues.

A highlight of the annual water conference is the poster session, which this year includes over 45 presenters, including many New Mexico Tech students. The 90-minute session on Wednesday morning allows students, faculty, agency staff, and private entities to network with colleagues from throughout the state and region, providing opportunities for collaboration.

– NMT –