Faculty Water Research Grant Program

NM WRRI provides support for water-related research through its Faculty Water Research Grant Program. Funds are made available through the Institute’s federal base grant (Section 104B of the Water Resources Research Act – [Public Law 109-471]) and through state appropriations. These “seed money” projects allow New Mexico university faculty to pursue critical areas of water resources research while providing training opportunities for their students. The grants generally provide about $30,000 per project. The grants help faculty to explore and develop research ideas that can attract more substantial outside funding. Grants are available to tenure track faculty members in any department at one of the state’s six research universities (UNM, NM Tech, NMSU, NMHU, WNMU, and ENMU).

Understanding the Costs of Arid Inland Communities’ Potable Water Reuse Options; Caroline Scruggs, University of New Mexico, School of Architecture and Planning 

Communities with exceptional water scarcity, including some in New Mexico, are considering planned potable reuse to meet future water needs. The objective of this project is to fill the knowledge gaps using a large, urban New Mexican community as a case study. The research will contribute to the literature and lay the foundation for future research, which will ultimately provide a transformative set of tools for planning and decision-making with respect to planned potable reuse in arid, inland communities.

Arsenic Removal from Water by Porous Polymers; Reza Foudazi, NMSU, Department of Chemical Engineering 

This project aims to produce a new type of porous monolith that is capable of adsorbing arsenic from drinking water. The monolith will have practical advantages over commercially available methods. Eventually the hope is to produce a new generation of economical adsorbents for arsenic and heavy metal removal from water resources.

Self-Sustaining Produced Water Treatment for Concurrent Renewable Energy Production, Desalination and Organic Removal; Pei Xu, NMSU, Civil and Geological Engineering

The study will develop an innovative microbial capacitive deionization cell (MCDC) to simultaneously remove organic substances and salts from produced water so it can be recycled and reused. Moreover, compared to other energy intensive systems, MCDC uses bacteria to convert biodegradable pollutants into direct electricity, which offsets operation energy use or supplies additional energy for other systems. Investigators will develop novel modular systems for produced water treatment using advanced carbon materials as electrodes, and optimize reactor configuration to improve the removal of solutes in the reactor. The proposed system can be used as a standalone process or as pretreatment for membrane desalination processes to reduce energy consumption and fouling potential.

Doing Hydrology Backwards in New Mexico to Estimate a Statewide Water Budget; Ricardo Gonzales-Pinzon

This project will implement a methodology to estimate statewide water budgets based on streamflow time-series because they integrate watershed processes and flowpaths that operate at different spatial and temporal scales. This research complements and further develops and implements a parsimonious and pseudo real-time methodology that allows estimates of statewide water budgets. The key product of this research is the characterization of watershed-fluxes of precipitation and evapotranspiration as well as the rainless conditions that prevail during most of the hydrologic year in New Mexico. Hypotheses will be tested in four major NM basins: Canadian River, Rio Grande, Gila River, and the Pecos River.

Draft Technical Completion Report

Policy alternative for controlling nitrate pollution from New Mexico’s dairies; Jingjing Wang, University of New Mexico, Department of Economics

The project will produce a white paper that illuminates the potential impacts of alternative policies for controlling nitrate pollution from New Mexico’s dairies. The paper will be aimed at policymakers and will include ample simulations of the policy impacts on nitrate pollution control and farm incomes.

Draft Technical Completion Report

Identification of law and policy options for best water management practices; Adrian Oglesby, Utton Transboundary Resources Center, University of New Mexico

The project will survey drought responses made in law and policy within New Mexico, across the West, and in other arid parts of the world. The objective is to provide meaningful water law and policy options for New Mexico lawmakers that can be successfully implemented in New Mexico to promote water conservation and efficiency.

Draft Technical Completion Report

Assessment of water table and water quality variations with respect to river flow along Rio Grande between Garfield NM and Fabens TX; Blair Stringam and Manoj Shukla, New Mexico State University, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences

The water budget estimation requires accurate knowledge of interactions between surface water including irrigation water and precipitation, crop water uptake, deep percolation, and recharge to groundwater. This project’s objectives are to analyze fluctuations of water table on a monthly basis along the Rio Grande river south of Garfield NM down to Fabens, TX and develop a model that describes the influence of the river and canal systems on the water aquifers; analyze fluctuations in groundwater quality by collecting water samples from over 50 observation wells and river water; and develop a preliminary water budget for the experimental area and identify the influence of surface and groundwater interaction on water quality.

Technical Completion Report No. 372

Drought, Salinity, and Invasive Plants: A New Model for Sustainable Water Management; Geno Picchioni, NMSU, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences and Brian Schutte, NMSU Department of Entomology, Plant Pathology and Weed Science

The study will look at data that will reveal the importance of soil water sodicity assessment as a predictive tool for assessing risk of lands to invasive and weedy plants. This metric is of significant value to the diverse stakeholders in predicting plant invasions before they become a problem.

Technical Completion Report No.368

The transport and accumulation of pyrogenic black carbon in fire-prone watersheds and implications for water quality; Daniel Cadol, New Mexico Tech, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

This research is expected to open new lines of inquiry into the water quality effects of wildfire. The study will measure the black carbon concentration in depositional zones of three recently burned watersheds in New Mexico (Whitewater Baldy fire in the Gila National Forest, Little Bear fire in Lincoln National Forest, and the Las Conchas fire in the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandolier National Monument). The PI will test for the presence of certain contaminants found by previous researchers to be associated with wildfires. It will identify the relative importance of mass movement and overland or river flow in transporting pyrogenic black carbon through recently burned semi-arid watersheds by identifying the dominant depositional zones – floodplains, river banks, or depositional debris fans.

Updating the Digital Hydrogeologic-Framework Model of the Mesilla Basin Area with Specific Reference to the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Project (TAAP); John W. Hawley, NM Water Resources Research Institute

The primary objective of the study is to provide hydrogeologic information in digital GIS formats at scales appropriate for development of the groundwater-flow and hydrochemical models needed to support water-resource planning and management in the binational Mesilla Basin-Paso del Norte region. The area of extensive and locally-thick basin-fill aquifer systems proposed for digital characterization includes the entire Mesilla Basin, the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys of the Rio Grande, and adjacent parts of the southern Jornada (del Muerto) and Palomas Basins that are located between Caballo Dam and El Paso/Ciudad Juarez.

Computational Fluid Dynamics Modeling of Karst Conduit-Matrix Exchanges with Relevance in Contaminant Transport, and Chemical Reactions; John L. Wilson, NM Tech, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Karst aquifers supply water to 25% of the United States, and almost all water to some regions, e.g., 90% of Florida’s population. Much of the southern New Mexico Pecos Watershed is karst. The proposed mathematical models and field project are designed to illuminate karst conduit to matrix water exchanges and their role in a wide variety of natural and anthropogenic (bio)geochemical processes, including contaminant transport and sequestration in karst aquifers. These issues are of concern to water supply, water quality, and environmental agencies and interest groups at the local, state and federal level.

Technical Completion Report No. 362

Mitigation of Membrane Biofouling by Harnessing Bacterial Cannibalism; New Mexico Tech; Frank Huang, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and Snezna Rogelj, Department of Biology
Millions of barrels of produced water are generated during gas production in New Mexico each year. While not drinkable because of the high salt content, trace organics, and heavy metals, produced water can be treated for agricultural and industrial purposes. Using produced water for industrial purposes would free up freshwater for other uses. A major problem with treating produced water with membrane separation, as is commonly done, is that its large-scale implementation has been plagued by the reoccurring biofouling of the membranes and the associated high operating costs. Conventional de-fouling techniques, such as acid and alkaline/detergent cleaning, are generally ineffective. This research looks at using bacteria’s ability to “eat” their neighboring siblings under nutrient-limited conditions and feed on the released nutrients. This “cannibalism” may be used to control membrane biofouling. Technical Completion Report No. 338
A Physically Based Parsimonious Approach for Spatial Disaggregation and Recovery of NEXRAD Precipitation Data in Mountainous Terrains; New Mexico Tech; John Wilson, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Mountain rains are a major source of fresh water in New Mexico. Characterizing the spatial variability of precipitation is critical for understanding and predicting both natural and human-influenced hydrologic responses, like recharge, runoff, and reservoir releases. NEXRAD radar is used to provide continuous temporal and spatial precipitation data. This study provides a statistical approach to improve the quality of NEXRAD estimation, which will be valuable to water resources managers, water regulators, planners, and decision makers like the Office of the State Engineer and the Interstate Stream Commission.
Development of Geospatial Modeling Tools for Watershed-Based Water Resources Management in New Mexico; New Mexico Tech; Enrique Vivoni, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
Providing decision makers with better forecasts of water supply is the aim of this research that will develop new geospatial modeling tools for managing water supplies in New Mexico using scientific knowledge on climate, surface, and groundwater relations. Although the modeling results are sophisticated, they will be made amenable to water managers via the web in a similar fashion to existing drought maps. The modeling tool is expected to provide detailed simulation capabilities for flood and drought forecasting, estimate runoff, evaporation and aquifer recharge, and simulate basin water storage and supply. Technical Completion Report No. 345
Predicting Land Use Change and Its Effect on Nonpoint Source Pollution; University of New Mexico; Jennifer Thacher and Janie Chermak, Department of Economics
The two researchers are heading a project that will provide an economic model of land use change within the Middle Rio Grande basin. The model will be used to predict future land use patterns in the region and to estimate future nonpoint pollution levels. City managers and water quality agencies could use this model for planning purposes. Technical Completion Report No. 346
Estimating Water Use through Satellite Remote Sensing; New Mexico State University; Max Bleiweiss and Rhonda Skaggs, College of Agriculture and Home Economics and Zohrab Samani College of Engineering
Recently, an evaluation of the Lower Rio Grande indicated that over half the water is unaccounted for in the water budget. That water is likely used for households, riparian vegetation, supplemental farm irrigation, and off-season runoff. In order to determine how the water is being consumed, the researchers will use innovations in satellite technology that have made it possible to process satellite data to estimate evapotranspiration. A team of investigators at NMSU have developed the software to provide regional ET maps from the NASA-TERRA satellite. These maps can be used to help schedule irrigation, for example. The maps will also allow for assessing the impact of water conservation policies on a regional basis by measuring water use before and after the implementation of policies. Real time ET maps will be made available to the public thereby allowing farmers to compare the water use of different crops and determine the best irrigation schedule.
Land Application of Industrial Effluent on a Chihuahuan Desert Ecosystem; New Mexico State University; Manjo Shukla, John Mexal and Ted Sammis, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
In many areas of southern New Mexico and the border region, there is a need to develop low-cost wastewater treatment methods. These areas are experiencing rapid population growth, urban expansion, and environmental pollution. Using conventional treatment technologies to treat wastewater to a high standard is not always practical, especially in communities that lack the required infrastructure and cannot afford the installation and maintenance. This research looks at land application systems, a biological treatment technology that has low costs and easy management compared to conventional technologies. This project will evaluate a land application system installed at the West Mesa Industrial Park near the city of Las Cruces.
Solar Desalination of Brackish Water Using Membrane Distillation Process; New Mexico State University; Shuguang Deng, Department of Chemical Engineering
This research will try to improve the distillation process used for desalinating brackish water in our state. This technology consumes low energy and can use low grade energy. This will drastically reduce the cost for treating brackish water to produce high quality fresh water. Specifically, Deng and his research team are evaluating the technical and economic feasibility of a solar evaporative desalination process that uses membrane distillation technology. Membrane distillation is a relatively new process that is being looked at worldwide as a low cost, energy saving alternative to conventional separation processes such as distillation and reverse osmosis. The technology uses a porous hydrophobic membrane that excludes liquid from the pores but not vapors. The process can be operated at a lower temperature than regular thermal distillation. This process could be powered with New Mexico’s solar energy. Technical Completion Report No. 342
Sustainable Recovery of Potable Water from Saline Waters; New Mexico State University; Nirmala Khandan, Department of Civil and Geological Engineering
This researcher is developing a solar-powered desalination system and will conduct pilot scale studies on the system. His approach has the potential for wider applications in reclaiming high quality water from wastewaters and industrial side streams such as produced waters from oil fields. An advantage to his approach is that it does not consume nonrenewable energy resources, reduces reliance on energy imports, and is not harmful to the environment.
Utilization of Saline and Other Impaired Waters for Turfgrass Irrigation; New Mexico State University; Bernd Leinauer, Department of Extension Plant Sciences and Ryan Goss, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture
This project looks at trying to make use of the vast amount of brackish water in New Mexico by determining if saline and other impaired waters can be utilized for turf irrigation. New and improved salt tolerant warm season grasses have made the prospect of using these grasses in conjunction with saline irrigation water quite promising. These grasses are now being tested for their combined cold hardiness and salt tolerance under harsh high altitude climate conditions.

Student Water Research Grant Program

When funds are made available, usually through the New Mexico State Legislature, the NM WRRI supports the Student Water Research Grant Program. These awards support the training of New Mexico’s future water experts through grants to university students throughout the state for their water-related research projects.

Student Water Research Grants are intended to help students initiate research projects or to supplement existing student research projects in water resources research. Budgets typically include expenditures for student salaries, supplies, sample analysis costs, field equipment, travel to field sites, and travel to present results at professional meetings. Student grant recipients work under the guidance of a faculty advisor. During FY20, awards of up to $7,100 were made for typically one-year projects.

Full-time undergraduate and graduate students enrolled in any degree program at one of the eight New Mexico Public Education Institutions (New Mexico State University, University of New Mexico, New Mexico Tech, Eastern New Mexico University, Western New Mexico University, New Mexico Highlands University, Northern New Mexico College, and Diné College) are eligible to apply. The NM WRRI announces a Call for Proposals when grants will be available.

 eNews ArticleFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
The effect of concentration and composition on PFAS adsorption at air-water interface
Zahra Abbasian, Chemical & Materials Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Reza Foudazi)
Water Quality Monitoring of the Upper Pecos River; Protecting the Pecos with Baseline Data
Megan Begay, Natural Resources Management, NMHU, BS; (Dr. Jennifer Lindline)
Recovery of Rare Earth Elements and Potable Water from Produced Water
Lin Chen, Civil Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Frank Ramos)
Transport and biogeochemical controls on nutrient retention along stream corridors
Jancoba Dorley, Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, UNM, PhD; (Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon)
Solar reforming of microplastics in water for H2 production and degradation using nanocomposite photocatalysts
Thiloka Edirisooriya, Civil Engineering, NMSU, MS; (Dr. Huiyao Wang)
Development of The Navigator: A smart sensing system to characterize aquatic ecosystems
Aashish Khandelwal, Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, UNM, PhD; (Dr. Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon)
Environmental Chemistry of the Upper Pecos River; Understanding Natural and Anthropogenic Influences on Water Quality
Letisha Mailboy, Natural Resources Management, NMHU, BS; (Dr. Jennifer Lindline)
Evaluation of Heavy Metal Adsorption onto Microplastics
Jasmine Anne Quiambao, Civil, Construction & Environmental Engineering, UNM, MS; (Dr. Jorge Gonzalez Estrella)
Investigating the effects of flow on growth and survival of larval pelagic-spawning minnows of the Pecos River, NM
Richard Raymondi, Biology, ENMU, MS; (Dr. Jesse Filbrun)
Assessment of the cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms (cHABs) and toxins in the blooming water bodies of New Mexico
Sergei Shalygin, Plant & Environmental Science, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. F. Omar Holguin)
Improving Green Water Use Proportion in a Center Pivot Irrigation System by Using Circular Grass Buffer Strips
Paramveer Singh,Plant & Environmental Science, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Sangu Angadi)
Improving Continuous Sediment Monitoring in an Ephemeral Arroyo in Central NM
Kyle Stark, Earth and Environmental Science, NMT, PhD; (Dr. Daniel Cadol)
Exploring surface water as the reservoir of CRE infecting patients in SE New Mexico
Kasandra Velarde, Biology, NMT, BS; (Dr. Linda DeVeaux)
Evaluating Soil Lead Bioavailability in Agricultural Fields across Animas Watershed
Bianca Wright, Plant & Environmental Science, NMSU, BS; (Dr. April Ulery)
Biodegradable Porous Hydrogel Water Retaining Additives Designed to Improve Irrigation Efficiency in Arid Climates
Ryan Zowada, Chemical & Materials Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Reza Foudazi)
 eNews ArticleFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
August 2019 Final ReportWater Quality Monitoring and Assessment of the Rio Mora at the Rio Mora National Wildlife Refuge, Mora County, NMJohnson Adio, Natural Resources Management, NMHU, MS; (Dr. Jennifer Lindline)
March 2020 Final ReportDomestic Wastewater Treatment Using Algal Systems in Winter ClimateIsuru Sachitra Abeysiriwardana Arachchige, Civil Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Nirmalakhandan)
November 2019Coming SoonElectrochemical-Assisted Ultrafiltration Membranes for Simultaneous Removal of As, Cd and CrAlireza Bandegi, Chemical & Materials Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Reza Foudazi)
Coming SoonFinal ReportWastewater Treatment Using Food Waste Char Obtained from Hydrothermal Liquefaction as a Low-Cost Adsorbent MaterialHengameh Bayat, Chemical & Materials Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Umakanta Jena)
June 2020 Coming SoonStable Isotope Analysis to Determine the Usefulness of Surface Water as a Proxy for Precipitation in a Semi-Arid, Mountainous EnvironmentVictoria Blumenberg, Animal & Range Sciences, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Amy Ganguli)
June 2020 Final ReportSurface Area of a Local Clay Material to Elucidate Uranium Abatement for Potable New Mexico Water ManagementMoticha M. Franklin, Chemistry & Biochemistry, NMSU, BS; (Dr. Antonio S. Lara)
October 2019Not AvailableA Survey: New Mexicans’ Willingness to Pay for Produced Water Treatment for Beneficial Re-UseAlyssa Latuchie, Economics, UNM, PhD; (Dr. Janie Chermak)
February 2020Final ReportTracking CRE in the Rio Grande: Determining Correlation Between the Appearance of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria in Surface Waters and Local Infection RatesKimberly McNair, Biology, NM Tech, MS; (Dr. Linda DeVeaux)
Not AvailableNot AvailableDeveloping a 2/3D Model for Improving Fertigation Scheduling Under Salinity Stress for PecanEsmaiil Mokari, Plant & Environmental Sciences, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Manoj Shukla)
May 2020Final ReportAssessment of Disinfection Byproducts (DBPs) Formation in Algae-Treated Wastewater for Safer Reuse in Unrestricted ApplicationsSrimali Preethika Munasinghe-Arachchige, Civil Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Nirmalakhandan)
September 2019Final ReportEnhanced Water Recovery and Membrane Scaling Mitigation for Desalination Using Innovative Electromagnetic Field (EMF) and 3D Printed Open Flow Channel MembranesJuliano Penteado de Almeida, Civil Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Pei Xu)
April 2020Final ReportHerbicide Phytotoxicity Under Drought Conditions in Warm and Cool Season TurfgrassJackson Powers, Plant & Environmental Sciences, NMSU, MS; (Dr. Ryan Goss)
May 2020Final ReportModeling Rainfall-Runoff Relationships in Conjunction with Sediment Transport Measurements in Ephemeral ChannelsMadeline Richards, Earth & Environmental Sciences, NM Tech, MS; (Dr. Daniel Cadol)
January 2020Coming SoonMonitoring Toxic Metal Uptake by Corn Grown in Agricultural Fields Across Animas and San Juan RiversMichael Whiting (Gaurav Jha, student mentor), Geology, NMSU, MS; (Dr. April Ulery)
April 2020Final ReportWasterwater-Treatment Algae-Derived Hydrochar for Heavy Metal Adsorption and RecyclingJiuling Yu, Chemical & Materials Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Hongmei Luo)
December 2019Design of Optimized Produced Water Treatment Units for the Agricultural IrrigationMuchu Zhou, Chemical & Materials Engineering, NMSU, PhD; (Dr. Reza Foudazi)
 eNews ArticleFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
July 2019
Final ReportRecyclable monolithic aerogels as efficient adsorbents for chromium VI removal from rural ground-water resourcesZahra Abbasian, NMSU, PhD student (Reza Foudazi)
August 2018Final ReportPotable Water Recovery Through Energy Efficient Algal Wastewater Treatment and Hybrid Membrane ProcessesChathurika Bandara, NMSU, PhD student (Nirmala Khandan)
September 2018Final ReportThe Everyday Politics of Irrigated Agriculture and an Uncertain FutureHolly Brause, UNM, PhD student (David Dinwoodie)
July 2018Final ReportAntibiotic resistance in wastewater treatment: the effects of different treatment methods on the differential survival of antibiotic resistant pathogens over non-resistant bacteria through the treatment process of two different wastewater treatment plantsAngelica Cave, NM Tech, master’s student (Linda DeVeaux)
November 2018Final ReportWater Reuse and Desalination with Self-cleaning Photocatalytic Membrane DistillationLin Chen, NMSU, PhD student (Pei Xu)
December 2018Final ReportDeveloping new strategies to mitigate antimicrobial resistance for safe water reuseXiaoxiao Cheng, NMSU, PhD student (Yanyan Zhang)
June 2019Final ReportEnergy and Nutrient Recovery from Co-Solvent Hydrothermal Liquefaction of Wastewater-Grown AlgaeZheng Cui, NMSU, PhD student (Catherine Brewer)
January 2019Final ReportGold King Mine Spill: Contaminant Removal of San Juan County Rivers via PhytoremediationJason Fechner, NMSU, bachelor’s student (April Ulery)
October 2018Final ReportHistoric and Ancient Ditch Irrigation Inform Current Systems: A Cross Cultural Comparison from Creekside Village of Tularosa, New MexicoChristine Gilbertson, ENMU, master’s student (John Montgomery)
March 2019Final ReportSurface Water Quality Implications of Valles Caldera Geothermal Fluids on Jemez Watershed: A Holistic Hydrogeochemical InvestigationJon K. Golla, UNM, master’s student (Laura J. Crossey)
April 2019Final ReportEcological responses in a river with more and less water: a case study of the highly managed Chama River, New Mexico”Monika Hobbs, UNM, master’s program (Rebecca Bixby)
February 2019Final ReportRecovery of Ammonium and Magnesium from Produced Water by Struvite PrecipitationLei Hu, NMSU, PhD student (Yanyan Zhang)
September 2018Final ReportAn efficient forecasting of hydrologic extremes under climate changeKhandaker Islam, NMSU, PhD student (Christopher Brown)
March 2019Final ReportSpeciation of metal(loids) in agricultural field soils impacted by Animas/San Juan River after the 2015 Gold King Mine SpillGaurav Jha, NMSU, PhD student (April Ulery)
June 2018Final ReportFurther Investigation of the Complex Hydrology at La Cienega, Santa Fe County, NMRyan Mann, NMHU, master’s degree (Jennifer Lindline)
April 2019Final ReportOptimizing fertilizer application and leaching under abiotic stresses within and below the Root Zone of Pecan OrchardsEsmaiil Mokarighahroodi, NMSU, PhD student (Manoj Shukla)
November 2018Final ReportMineralogical and Kinetic Considerations for Uranium LeachingAlexandra Pearce, NM Tech, PhD student (Kierran Maher)
May 2019

Final ReportHerbicide Phytotoxicity Under Drought Conditions in Warm and Cool Season TurfgrassJackson Powers, NMSU, master’s student (Ryan Goss)
February 2019Final ReportPreparing a sediment monitoring station on an ephemeral channel for summer monsoon flowsKyle Stark, NM Tech, master’s student (Daniel Cadol)
May 2019Final ReportHydroelectric management on the Rio Chama: examining costs and benefits from nonconsumptive flow management between the El Vado and Abiquiu reservoirsSuzanne Stradling, UNM, PhD student (Janie Chermak)
January 2019Final ReportMonitoring basking activity and assessing water conditions in relation to basking of Rio Grande cooters along the Black RiverThanchira Suriyamongkol, ENMU, master’s student (Ivana Mali)
 eNews ArticleFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
November 2016Final ReportCharacterization of Pathogenic Bacterial Regrowth and Impairment Potential along the Rio Grande near AlbuquerqueJames Fluke (Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon) UNM, Civil Engineering, MS
Final ReportImproved Meteorological Infrastructure for Water Management in the Middle and Lower Rio Grande, New MexicoGarrett Gibson (Salim Bawazir) NMSU, Civil Engineering, BS
February 2017Final ReportEconomic Impact of Water Conservation, Storage Capacity Development, and Crop Diversity in the Tucumcari Project of East-Central New MexicoBefekadu Habteyes (Frank Ward) NMSU, Ag Economics and Ag Business, PhD
March 2017Final ReportIntegrated geological, geophysical, and hydrological study of field-scale fault-zone cementation and permeabilityJohnny Hinojosa (Peter Mozley) NMTech, Earth and Environmental Science, MS
November 2017Final ReportMonitoring water quality parameters within a known range of Western River Cooters (Pseudemys gorzugi) within Black River DrainageAndrew Letter (Ivana Mali) NSMU, Geography, MS
July 2017Final ReportPost Wildfire Geomorphic and Hydrological Effects in the Upper Santa Fe Municipal WatershedManuel Lopez (Daniel Dugas) ENMU, Biology, MS
Final ReportUranium Abatement for Contaminated, Limited Water Resources Using Clay PelletsNhat Nguyen (Antonio Lara) NMSU, Chemistry and Biochemistry, BS/BA
July 2017Final ReportInvestigation of soil composition from burned areas affecting water quality changes following wildfiresAmanda Otieno (Rebecca Bixby) UNM, Biology/Water Resources Program, MS

Final ReportDeveloping the Water-Budget and Calculating the Recharge for the Mesilla Bolson AquiferPooneh Pahlavani (Zohrab Samani) NMSU, Civil Engineering, MS
October 2017Final ReportSolar Energy Assisted Water Purification: Incorporation of an Environmentally Benign Porous Graphitized Carbon Nitride (g-C3N4) photocatalyst with Graphitized Polyacrylonitrile (g-PAN) for Efficient Oxidation of Toxic Arsenite [As(III)]Stephanie Richins (Hongmai Luo) NMSU, Chemical and Materials Engineering, BS
August 2017Final ReportEffects of NRCS and BLM Conservation Practices on Plant and Soil Biological Communities and Hydrologic Processes in the Rio Puerco WatershedJeremy Schallner (Amy Ganguli) NMSU, Animal and Range Sciences, MS
September 2017Final ReportA lab and pilot scale comparison of attached growth and suspended culture for the algal remediation of arsenic from waterChase Stearnes (Andrew Schuler) UNM, Civil Engineering, BS
September 2017Final ReportGila National Forest Stream Temperature and Intermittency Monitoring Network for
Species of Special Interest
Tyler Wallin (Colleen Caldwell) NMSU, Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Ecology, MS
January 2018Final ReportPore-Scale Transport of Strontium and Chromate During Dynamic Water Content Changes in the Unsaturated ZoneWilliam Weaver (Lambis Papelis) NMSU, Civil Engineering, PhD
December 2017Final ReportSpatial prediction of soil hydraulic properties accounting for variable wildfire burn severity, Valles Caldera, New MexicoMichael Wine (Daniel Cadol) NMTech, Earth & Environmental Science, Hydrology, PhD
February 2017Final ReportIs there a relationship between tree canopy cover change on the landscape and the discharge of Gallinas Creek through time (from 1939 to 2015) in Las Vegas, NM?Behnaz Yekkeh (Edward Martinez) NMHU, Natural Resource Management, MS
May 2017Final ReportSan Jose Mining District Groundwater InvestigationMoticha Yellowman
Antonio Lara
Dennis McQuillan
 Project Abstract Project Report Full TitleAuthors
Project AbstractFinal ReportReal Time Monitoring of Flood Control Dams for Emergency Action ManagementAbdullah Alazmi, Dennis Felipe Jr, Reynold Durden, Malcolm Braughton, Paul Candelaria, Seth Davis, NMSU, Bachelor’s and master’s students (Dr. J. Phillip King)
Project AbstractFinal ReportCost‐efficient detection of endocrine‐disrupting compounds in drinking waterMaxwell Baymiller, NM Tech, undergraduate student (Dr. Snezna Rogelj)
Project AbstractFinal ReportEvaluation of Impacts of Silvicultural Operations such as Thinning Treatments on Water Quality and Quantity in New Mexico ForestsOnur Beyazoglu and Yasser Almalki,
NMSU, master’s students (Dr. Owen Burney)
Project AbstractFinal ReportTemporal analysis of non‐snow fed streams in New MexicoFawn Brooks, UNM, PhD student (Dr. David Gutzler)
Project AbstractFinal ReportTest of the new LAS MkII Scintillometer for validation of statewide New Mexico evapotranspiration mapsReid Brown, NM Tech, master’s student
(Dr. Jan Hendrickx)
Project AbstractFinal ReportThe Detection of Antibiotic Resistant Bacteria (ARB) in the Gallinas RiverLaurel Carr, master’s student (Dr. Ben Nelson)
Project AbstractFinal ReportFire ash influences on aquatic primary producers through changes in water qualityAlexander Clark, UNM, undergraduate student
(Dr. Rebecca Bixby)
Project AbstractFinal ReportEvaluating the Impacts of Particulate Matter Deposition on Snow Melt Processes in the Upper Rio Grande, NMAngela Gregory, UNM, PhD student (Dr. Mark Stone)
Project AbstractFinal ReportDevelopment of a Bio‐indicator to Assess Water Quality in Ephemeral PondsRebekah Horn, NMSU, PhD student,
(Dr. David Cowley)
Project AbstractFinal ReportEnhanced Photocatalysis for Water Purification and Disinfection using Optical Fibers Coated with Nanocomposite Thin FilmsLu Lin, NMSU, MS/PhD student (Dr. Pei Xu)
Project AbstractFinal ReportLinking Forests to Faucets: Investigating Alternative Approaches for Securing Long‐Term Funding for Watershed Restoration in New MexicoEdward McCorkindale, UNM, master’s student
(Dr. Robert Berrens)
Project AbstractFinal ReportEffects of Turbidity on Group Cohesion in Sand Shiners and Red Shiners from the Pecos River in New MexicoSabrina Michael, ENMU, master’s student
(Dr. Marv Lutnesky)
Project AbstractFinal ReportSubmerged Aquatic Macrophytes – Ecosystem Engineers in New Mexico Mountain Streams – Effects of Forest FireVirginia Thompson, UNM, PhD student
(Dr. Clifford Dahm)
Project AbstractFinal ReportWater Politics and Cultural Difference: Fostering Community Relationships to Promote Environmental Health and Community Wellbeing in Times of DroughtElise Trott, UNM, PhD student (Dr. Erin Debenport)
Project AbstractFinal ReportAssessment of Water Quality in the Irrigation Drainage Canals as a Source of Reusable Irrigation WaterKai Williams, NMSU, master’s student
(Dr. Salim Bawazir)
Project AbstractFinal ReportApplication of HydroGeoSphere to model climate change effects on three‐dimensional hydrological processes in the Valles Caldera, New MexicoMichael Wine, NM Tech, PhD student
(Dr. Daniel Cadol)

 Project AbstractFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
Project AbstractFinal ReportInvestigation of Improved Operational Streamflow Forecasting in the Rio Grande BasinShalamu Abudu, Civil Engineering (advisor: J. Phillip King) , New Mexico State University
Project AbstractFinal ReportThe Dependency of Anomalous Transport Behavior on Flow Path OrientationNicholas B Engdahl, Earth and Planetary Sciences (advisor: Gary S. Weissmann), University of New Mexico,
Project AbstractFinal ReportEvaluation of Multi-stage solar-powered desalination systemAkash Mummaneni, Civil Engineering (advisor: N. Nirmala Khandan), New Mexico State University,
Project AbstractFinal Report Aqueous Geochemistry of the Springs and Wells of the Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuge: Evaluating Hydrochemical Pathways and MicrobiologyAmy J. Williams, Earth & Planetary Sciences (advisor: Laura Crossey), University of New Mexico
Project Abstract Final ReportResidence Time Distribution in Dynamically Changing Hydrologic SystemsJesus D. Gomez, Earth and Environmental Sciences, (advisor: John L. Wilson), New Mexico Tech
Project AbstracFinal Report Composite Membrane for Membrane Distillation Desalination ProcessSai Reddy Pinappu, Chemical Engineering (advisor: Shuguang Deng), New Mexico State University
Project AbstractUpdating the Groundwater Flow Model for the Southern Jornada Del Muerto Basin – Implementing Reviewers CommentsB. V. N. P. Kambhammettu, Civil Engineering (advisor: J. Phillip King), New Mexico State University
Project AbstractFinal ReportAssessment of a novel source-tracking protocol for evaluating the significance of municipal wastewater sources on the microbial contaminant levels of discharged wastewatersJesus Sigala, Plant and Environmental Science (advisor: Adrian Unc), New Mexico State University
Project AbstractEffects of Copper Sulfate Treatment on Benthic Macroinvertebrates in Peterson Reservoir SedimentsDaryl Williams, Natural Sciences (advisor: Edward A. Martinez), New Mexico Highlands University
Project Abstract Final ReportUranium Abatement in WaterNicholas G. Beltran, Biology (advisor: Antonio S. Lara), New Mexico State University
Project AbstractRemoval of Arsenic from Aqueous solution using activated carbon prepared from Pecan shellsRanganath Potluri, Chemical Engineering (advisor: David Roskstraw), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract Final ReportFrom Stormwater Management to Stormwater Integration: The Use of Low Impact Development Techniques in the Albuquerque RegionKT LaBadie, Water Resources Program and Community and Regional Planning Program (advisor: Bill Fleming), University of New Mexico,

 Project AbstractFinal ReportFull titleAuthors
Project AbstractFinal ReportFeasibility Study of Wastewater Purification by Low Temperature Distillation MethodVeera Gnaneswar Gude, Civil Engineering Department (advisor: Nirmala Khandan), New Mexico State University,
Project AbstractFinal ReportArsenic Adsorption and Desorption in Storrie Lake SedimentsCelestine Ngam, Department of Natural Sciences (advisor: Michael Meyer), New Mexico Highlands University
Project Abstract; Final ReportNew Mexico Water Rights Prices Database DevelopmentShawn Landfair, Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business Department (advisor: Frank Ward), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportNew Mexico State University Estimating Evaporation from Elephant Butte Reservoir with the Monin Obukhov Simularity Theory Using Simple InstrumentationJimmy Moreno, Civil Engineering Department (advisor: A. Salim Bawazir)
Project Abstract; Final ReportIron(II) Oxidation in New Mexico Waters: Experimental Development of a Molecular-Level Predictive ModelAndrea Higdon, Department of Chemistry (advisor: Michael Pullin), New Mexico Tech
Project Abstract; Final ReportDrinking Water Purification for U.S.A.-Mexico Border RegionArely A. Torres, Chemical Engineering Department (advisor: Shuguang Deng), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportLand Application of Wastewater Containing Arsenic: Impacts on the Sorption and Mobility of Arsenic in SoilSylvia Nemmers, Plant and Environmental Sciences (advisor: April Ulery), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; <Final ReportCarbon Nanotube-Based Biosensor for Pathogens Concentration and DetectionDipendu Saha, Chemical Engineering Department (advisor: Shuguang Deng), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportNew Mexico Highlands University, Bioassessment of Arsenic Contamination of the Gallinas River Using Benthic MacroinvertebratesBildad Eta Eyong, Department of Natural Sciences (advisor: Edward Martinez)
Project Abstract; Final ReportThe Effects of Acequias and Riparian Evapotranspiration on the Rio Grande Flow LevelsCiara Cusack, Animal and Range Sciences (advisor: Sam Fernald), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportInvestigating Potential Salt Contamination of Aquifers from Irrigated LandscapesElena Sevostianova, Plant and Environmental Sciences (advisor: Bernd Leinauer), New Mexico State University

 Project AbstractFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
Project Abstract; Final ReportCharacterization of Heavy Metal Binding by Functional Groups Found in BiomaterialsJesus Q. Cantu, Department of Physics (advisor: Jacob Urquidi), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportCommunity and Ecosystem Effects of a Nonnative Fish in Refugia in an Intermittent Stream: Implications for Native Fish RestorationRyan McShane, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Sciences (advisor: David Cowley), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportRelating Fish Abundance and Condition to Environmental Factors in Desert SinkholesKristin Swaim, Department of Fishery and Wildlife Sciences (advisor: Wiebke J. Boeing), New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportThe Effects of Eutrophication on the Structure and Function of Stream BiofilmsDavid J. VanHorn, Department of Biology (advisor: Clifford Dahm), University of New Mexico
Project Abstract; Final ReportExperimental and Numerical Modeling Analysis of Arsenic-sulfide Precipitation in Groundwater EnvironmentsMatthew F. Kirk, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences (advisor: Laura Crossey), University of New Mexico
Project Abstract; Final ReportThe Influence of Predator Detection on Life History Strategies in DAPHNIAIrene M. Roselli, Department of Biology (advisor: Marvin M.F. Lutnesky), Eastern New Mexico University
Project Abstract; Final ReportThe Influence of Larval Culiseta sp. (Diptera: Culicidae) on Behavior and Growth Rate of Tadpole Shrimp Triops longicaudatus (LeConte) (Notostraca: Triopsidae)Nicole M. Harings, Department of Biology, (advisor: Marvin M.F. Lutnesky), Eastern New Mexico University
Project Abstract; Final Report Determination of Heavy Metal Distribution in the Gallinas River Using Aquatic MacrophytesChemanji Shu-Nyamboli and Joel Lowry, Department of Natural Sciences (advisor: Edward A. Martinez), New Mexico Highlands University
Project AbstractUranium and Heavy Metals in Macroinvertebrates in the Santa Fe River on the Cochiti ReservationCarlos R. Herrera, Department of Natural Sciences (advisor: Michael L. Meyer), New Mexico Highlands University
Project Abstract; Final ReportRunoff Processes and the Evolution of Water Chemistry in the Saguache Creek Watershed of the Upper Rio GrandeMarty D. Frisbee, Department of Earth and Environmental Science (advisor: Fred Phillips), New Mexico Tech
Project Abstract; Final ReportUse of Remotely Sensed Observations for Improved Distributed Hydrological Modeling in the Jemez River BasinTaufique Mahmood, Department of Earth and Environmental Science (advisor: Enrique Vivoni), New Mexico Tech
Project Abstract; Final ReportMulti-disciplinary Analysis of a New Mexico Cold Water Tufa Spring MoundKatrina Koski, Department of Earth and Environmental Science (advisor: Penelope J. Boston), New Mexico Tech

 Project AbstractFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
Project Abstract; Final ReportCattails and Ostracodes: An Investigation of Prehistoric Water Management in the Chupadera Arroyo Basin, Central New MexicoMonica L. (Enke) Murrell; Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology, Eastern New Mexico University
Project Abstract; Final Report Groundwater Quality and Well Water Assessment in Las Vegas New Mexico AreaJoel Lowry and Simone-Camille Yelah Tar; Department of Natural Sciences, New Mexico Highlands University
Project Abstract; Final ReportSurveying Health Risks Associated with Arsenic in the Gallinas WatershedJustin Johns-Kaysing; Department of Natural Sciences, New Mexico Highlands University
Project AbstractFinal ReportRiparian Evapotranspiration Estimates on the Middle Rio Grande Using Remote SensingMaritza A. Macias-Corral; Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportModeling of Mass and Heat Transport in Membrane Distillation Process for Brackish Water DesalinationPrajwal Vikram; Department of Chemical Engineering, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportSoil Recovery After Herbicide Treatment of Saltcedar Stands and Management ImplicationsCheryl Rosel; Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportRapid Detection of Human Fecal Contamination Using sIgA as an IndicatorJessica Hamel; Department of Microbiology and Biology, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final Reportumerical Modeling Investigation of Fluid Flow Above and Below Sediment-Water InterfacesMeinhard Bayani R. Cardenas; Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Tech
Project Abstract; Final ReportHydrometeorological Field Studies During the North American Monsoon in the Valles Caldera National PreserveAlex J. Rinehart; Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Tech
Project Abstract; Final ReportInvestigation of Transpiration Water Loss from Pinyon-Juniper ForestsSue White; Department of Environmental Engineering, New Mexico Tech
Project Abstract; Final ReportWater Quality Along the Middle Rio Grande of New MexicoLydia Zeglin; Department of Biology, University of New Mexico
Project Abstract; Final ReportMycorrhizal Colonization in Cottonwood and Salt Cedar Stands Along the Middle Rio Grande: Implications for Water Quality and Water ConsumptionJennifer Follstad Shah; Department of Biology, University of New Mexico
Project Abstract; Final ReportHuman Impacts on Nitrate Dynamics in Hyporheic Sediments Using a Stable Isotope TracerChelsea Crenshaw; Department of Biology, University of New Mexico

 Project AbstractFinal ReportFull TitleAuthors
Project Abstract; Final ReportEscherichia coli Source Tracking by DNA Fingerprinting in Diverse Watersheds of Northern New MexicoGreg M. Huey, Department of Natural Sciences, New Mexico Highlands University
Project Abstract; Final ReportUsing Natural Tracers to Improve Estimates of Groundwater Recharge Resulting from SnowmeltSam Earman, Department of Earth and Environmental Science, New Mexico Tech
Project Abstract; Final ReportWater Quality Assessment in the Gallinas Watershed, Las Vegas, New MexicoThomas Evans, Environmental Geology Program, Department of Natural Sciences, New Mexico Highlands University
Project Abstract; Final Report Under What Conditions are Salinity-gradient Solar Ponds Cost-effective as a Source of Heat and/or Electricity for Desalination of Brackish Groundwater?Robin A. Foldager, Environmental Science, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportPrehistoric Water Management in the American SouthwestStacy K. Galassini, Department of Anthropology and Applied Archaeology, Eastern New Mexico University
Project Abstract; Final ReportMapping Lake Evaporation Using Satellite ImageryAlex Herting, Tim Farmer, and Jordan Evans; Department of Civil and Geological Engineering, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportThe Fate of Pharmaceutically Active Drugs in the Rio Grande and GroundwaterMaceo Carrillo Martinet, Department of Biology, University of New Mexico
Project Abstract; Final ReportCan Non-Potable Saline Groundwater Be Used for Turfgrass Irrigation?Casey Johnson, Department of Agronomy and Horticulture, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportIdentification of Membrane Foulants in Natural WatersKhalid Mehboob, Department of Civil Engineering, University of New Mexico
Project Abstract; Final ReportEffects of Gender and Predation Risk on Depth Choice in the Mosquitofish, Gambusia affinisTony Spitzack, Department of Biology, Eastern New Mexico University
Project Abstract; Final ReportEffects of Burning and Thinning on Forest HydrologyAnthony Madrid, Department of Animal and Range Sciences, New Mexico State University
Project Abstract; Final ReportGeochemistry of Rio Grande Rift Travertine Depositing Springs: Implications for Rio Grande Valley WaterDennis L. Newell, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of New Mexico
Project Abstract; Final ReportClimate, Land-use Change, and Hydrologic Response: Modeling the Rio Puerco BasinRobert W Wyckoff, Earth and Environmental Sciences, New Mexico Tech

Procedural and Editorial Guidelines for Principal Investigators

Principal investigators (PIs) of research projects sponsored by the Institute are required to follow certain procedural and editorial guidelines. These guidelines allow the Institute to fulfill its obligations to federal, state, and various other sponsors. A copy of the guidelines in .pdf format is available via the link below:

The Institute’s primary objective is to maintain a balanced program of research that addresses water problems critical to New Mexico, the Southwest, and the nation. The Institute’s major program guidance comes from its Program Development and Review Board, composed of representatives of the USGS, state government, each of the major doctoral-granting state universities, and the Institute.

The program uses two approaches:

  1. Support of small “seed money” projects that allow State University faculties to explore and develop research ideas that can attract more substantial outside funding. This is done with the Federal base grant (Section 104B of the Water Resources Research Act – [Public Law 98-242 as amended]) and part of the funds provided by the State of New Mexico. Depending upon the availability of funding, annual request for proposals for “seed money” projects are announced in the fall.
  2. Providing non-federal matching funds required for other programs: i.e., Section 104G. Depending upon the availability of funding, annual request for proposals for “seed money” projects are usually announced in the fall. The Section 104G program is usually announced in November of each year (https://water.usgs.gov/wrri/FY2020_104g_RFP.pdf). These grants are available to any tenure track faculty member in any Department at any of the state’s 6 universities (UNM, NMTech, NMSU, NMHU, NMWU, & NMEU). Interested PIs should discuss their ideas with NM WRRI.