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NM WRRI’s 60th annual water conference to look at how science can help us manage water

Despite the return of monsoon rainfall this summer, New Mexico continues to be immersed in a prolonged drought, and the state’s limited water resources will continue to be squeezed.

Water resource management throughout the West is facing dramatic challenges that go to the core of our cultural, economic, and societal foundations.

This year’s New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute’s conference, “Coloring Outside the Lines: Can Science Help Us Be Creative and Innovative in Managing Our Water?” is focused on managing the changes in water resource strategies – technology, legal/institutional, and social policy and whether science can help in determining new management strategies.

The day-and-a-half program will be held in Taos at the Sagebrush Inn and Suites on Oct. 7-9. On Oct. 7, participants can register for a tour that looks at acequia connections between the area’s hydrology and local community. Ongoing hydrological studies in the area will be highlighted as the tour proceeds along the Rio Hondo/Cuchilla acequia.

Conference sessions begin on Thursday morning with water experts from around the region and nation. Science-based water management of groundwater supplies, hydroclimatology, climate change, and successfully changing institutions will be discussed.

Regional topics to be addressed include land grants, the future of ski areas and watershed restoration priorities. At the national level, drought research throughout the West along with how other states are coping with drought will be featured.

Two luncheons are scheduled. Darcy Bushnell from the Utton Transboundary Resources Center at the University of New Mexico will speak on Thursday on the Abeyta Settlement. Friday’s lunch will feature Earl Greene of the U.S. Geological Survey talking about drought research in the western states.

The water conference includes a poster session on Friday morning, where students, faculty, agency personnel, and private sector presenters will showcase their research. Visit the institute’s website for the program, which includes speaker biographies and brief abstracts on their planned presentations: http://2015.wrri.nmsu.edu/ or call the NM WRRI at 575-646-4337.

You can register online via the conference website. Regular registration is $125 and $50 for full-time students. The registration fee includes both lunches.

The New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute is a nonprofit organization that funds water-related projects at all of New Mexico's universities. Press may attend the conference free of charge.