Most of the population in western North America faces significant water-related challenges. Many rural communities are faced with increasing federally mandated water-quality standards that make availability and affordability of this precious commodity even more challenging. Management of the existing water resources requires improved and more available technology along with research to enable wise use of the underground brackish water resources. New Mexico has large supplies of groundwater available in the many aquifers underlying the state. Almost 75 percent of this water, however, is considered brackish, containing high levels of total dissolved solids (TDS), ranging from fresh water to a TDS level of more than 300,000 ppm. Despite the abundant availability of brackish water in New Mexico, more research is needed to utilize this resource.
The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute (NM WRRI) in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation has organized a day long workshop plus a half day tour exclusively for NMSU and Reclamation researchers to discuss and plan ideas for research to improve the treatment and beneficial use of impaired waters for increasing water supply sustainability. The hope is that these ideas will form the basis for proposals to respond to an anticipated request for proposals in late 2015. The overarching objective of the research partnership is to create a center of expertise in brackish water science at New Mexico State University with the goal of reducing the cost and environmental impact of treating impaired and unusable water sources while improving water supply longevity.