The cooperative agreement’s annual community learning meeting was held on October 24 at the Las Cruces Convention Center and began with a poster session that highlighted diverse water-related research projects by New Mexico State University students and faculty. Following the poster session, Dr. Sam Fernald, Director of New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, welcomed the 83 attendees and shared background information on the cooperative agreement between NMSU and the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
NM Representative Bill Gomez, NM Representative Nathan Small, and NM Senator Ron Griggs, and Mayor Javier Perea of the City of Sunland Park, spoke about water issues that affect their constituents and the development efforts to remediate some of those challenges as they plan for the future.
One of the highlights of the meeting was brief summary presentations on research projects by researchers who have received funding through the cooperative agreement. The group heard about exciting new and innovative technologies and research projects underway that may well have positive impacts on the ability to use and develop brackish and marginal quality water.
The lunch speakers, John Balliew, Director and CEO of El Paso Water Utilities, and Fernando Barrera, Senior Project Closing Specialist from the North American Development Bank, both gave firsthand accounts of desalination projects that they have worked on and provided valuable insight.
Following lunch, a community small group discussion was held, which gave vital feedback on concerns, challenges, and opportunities that desalination presents for the participants and their communities. The feedback they provided will be available on the cooperative agreement website, which is in progress and should go live in mid-November.