Community Water

Transboundary Groundwater Resilience Network Hosts First In-person Collaboration Event in New York City

Transboundary Groundwater Resilience Network Hosts First In-person Collaboration Event in New York City

By Ana Cristina Garcia-Vasquez, NM WRRI graduate research assistant; Kaustuv Neupane, NM WRRI graduate research assistant & Christine Tang, NM WRRI Research Scientist

The Transboundary Groundwater Resilience (TGR) Network of Networks, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Accelerating Research through International Network-to-Network Collaborations(AccelNet) program, met in New York City last week on March 23, 2023, to host an event for UN Water 2023. TGR partners and co-hosts New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) at New Mexico State University, San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) and University of California San Diego, West Big Data Hub at the University of California Berkeley (UCB), and Water and Climate Coalition.

Pictured from left to right are attendees at TGR’s UN Water 2023 event, Connecting the World for Transboundary Groundwater Resilience, held in New York City on Thursday, March 23, 2023.Top row: I. Zaslavsky, director/UCSD; S. Fernald, director/NM WRRI; E. Tapia Villaseñor, Professor, Universidad de Sonora; A.C. Garcia-Vasquez, graduate research assistant/ NM WRRI; M.E. Giner, US commissioner/IBWC; A. Granados-Olivas, professor/UACJ; J. Christopher, project manager/SDSC; M.A. Kinzer, artistBottom row: K. Neupane, graduate research assistant/NM WRRI; E. Lictevout, director/IGRAC; A.R. Maldonado, Mexican Commissioner/IBWC; S. Megdal, director/WRRC; D. Gyawali, former minister of water resources/Nepal; A. Atkins, executive director/West Big Data Hub; S.S Solis, Professor, UC Davis; E. Hestir, Associate Professor/UC Merced; C. Cramer, deputy director/SDSC.

This event was to further the project’s Action Agenda item #86, Connecting the World for Transboundary Groundwater Resilience, which is a commitment submitted to the UN Water Conference pledging to deliver scaled and replicable water actions used to improve water-related objectives, goals, and impacts.

This interactive 90-minute event allowed attendees to participate in discussions related to transboundary groundwater research and management, perspectives on successes, challenges, and needs, and possible solutions for transboundary groundwater collaboration.

The meeting began with a networking breakfast. Sam Fernald, director of the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, gave a presentation titled, Transboundary Groundwater Resilience: contributions from a network for disciplines and communities, which focused on the convergence of disciplines and community interaction as a pathway for supporting action agenda item #86.

Afterward, in the participant spotlight section, attendees shared their insights and experiences related to transboundary groundwater. This section of the event heard remarks and observations from many participants from all over the world, including TGR partners in Mexico, the US, Nepal, Sweden, and the Netherlands. A follow-up community discussion was moderated by Ashley Atkins, executive director of the West Big Data Innovation Hub at UCB and a Co-PI of TGR, and Julie Christopher, technical project manager for the West Big Data Hub and GO FAIR US, at SDSC.

Suggestions on achieving sustainable transboundary water development centered around what is needed for transboundary cooperation and what these transboundary agreements need to include. For successful cooperation, we need to consider the perspectives of all the stakeholders and build trust through better collaboration, communication, and data sharing. Dr. Elisabeth Lictevout, Director of the International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre, stressed the importance of building trust by sharing accurate, up-to-date data and that data sharing is the best way to collaborate. Thus, we need increased investment in groundwater monitoring, data collection, and information sharing between countries and regions.

Legal agreements, policies, and regulations should promote equitable and sustainable use of groundwater, consider a long-term perspective that includes anticipating and mitigating challenges, and increase investment in sustainable management practice to ensure the continued availability of this vital resource. Preserving and protecting transboundary groundwater resources for future generations is the utmost priority.

Connecting the world for transboundary groundwater resilience is complex and challenging; however, we must undertake it to build a sustainable and resilient future for all. We must work together towards this important goal and ensure that our actions today contribute to a better tomorrow.

The event wrapped up with concluding remarks by NM WRRI graduate research assistant Ana Cristina Garcia-Vasquez, who emphasized that water connects all aspects of life. To achieve better water development, we must first learn how to communicate with each other.

For more information on becoming involved, please visit the TGR website, or sign up for the mailing list to learn about future TGR events and announcements.

eNews March 2023

Rajan Ghimire, Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Agricultural Science Center

Rajan Ghimire, Associate Professor, New Mexico State University, Agricultural Science Center

By Jeanette Torres, NM WRRI Program Coordinator

Rajan Ghimire is an associate professor for the Plant and Environmental Sciences Department at the Agricultural Science Center for New Mexico State University in Clovis, New Mexico. His research specializes in soil and crop management practices to enhance efficiency, profits, and soil environmental quality. Ghimire is currently mentoring four PhD and three MS students on projects related to soil resilience, water, carbon, and nutrient management in diverse agricultural systems.

Ghimire is actively working on three soil water measuring projects, which involve cover crop impacts on soil water dynamics, water productivity of crop and forage production systems, and links between soil health, soil water, and ecosystem services provided by arid and semi-arid cropping systems. His extensive research in soil-plant-environment interactions allows him to assist farmers in designing farming systems to make them more adaptable. He also actively interacts with policymakers to better inform state and national policy to support producers in water-limited environments. “Soil is the foundation for food production. In New Mexico, water is the lifeline for agriculture. Therefore, I am interested in understanding the nexus of soil health – water dynamics – agricultural and environmental sustainability,” Ghimire states.

Ghimire earned his BS in Agriculture and his MS in Soil Science from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. His PhD in Soil Science was obtained from the University of Wyoming. Ghimire has published over 70 peer-reviewed journal articles and has been a reviewer for over 30 professional journals and editor for three journals since 2015. According to Ghimire, his interest in soil and water management research has come from his upbringing in rural Nepal, where he experienced soil degradation due to water erosion and witnessed many farmers struggling to produce enough nutritious food for their families. The struggle of these individuals impacted him, and he became interested in applied soil science research so that he could help rural communities improve their livelihood, such as those in both New Mexico and Nepal.

Ghimire’s future work involves seeing the completion of his active projects related to soil health and water management and exploring more options to manage soil and water in arid and semi-arid regions. “I have introduced a new approach in soil carbon sequestration and water conservation, i.e., ‘more carbon per drop,’ which involves improving water use and conservation efficiency to enhance C sequestration and climate resilience,” Ghimire mentions. Over the course of these projects, he hopes to develop agricultural best practices for improving agricultural production, increasing water-use efficiency, enhancing carbon sequestration, and mitigating greenhouse gas emissions. He hopes to also work alongside NM WRRI on projects that improve soil and water management for better agriculture.

For those seeking more information about his research, please see the following links to his featured publications:

  1. A meta-analysis on cover crop impact on soil water storage, succeeding crop yield, and water-use efficiency
  2. Water productivity of forage sorghum in response to winter cover crops in semi-arid irrigated conditions
  3. Cover crop water use and corn silage production in -semi-arid irrigated conditions
  4. More carbon per drop to enhance soil carbon sequestration in water-limited environments
eNews March 2023

TGR article draft