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NMSU to host Iraqi scientists for two-month water training

The College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at New Mexico State University will welcome two scientists from Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Agriculture for a two-month training on water economics and policy modelling, beginning in December.


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Frank Ward, a Distinguished Achievement professor at New Mexico State University, will help train two scientists from Iraq on water economics and policy modelling from December to February. (Courtesy)
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Dina Salman, a research assistant professor at New Mexico State University, will help train two scientists from Iraq on water economics and policy modelling from December to February. (Courtesy)

United States Geological Survey scientist Saud Amer, an affiliated faculty member in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Agricultural Business at NMSU, will administer the program in Las Cruces with funding from the U.S. State Department. NMSU faculty members Frank Ward, a Distinguished Achievement professor, and Dina Salman, a research assistant professor, will assist in presenting the program, which will conclude in February.

“The two-month session for the two scientists represents the first in what will be two years of programs that will move the ministry’s water resource managers from consumers of economically analyzed data to producers,” Ward said.

The visiting scientists are Hatem Sallom and Ahmed Abdulhamza, who will receive a certificate of appreciation from NMSU after completing the program.

According to Ward, Iraq’s Ministry of Water Resources and Ministry of Agriculture currently rely on data produced through an early warning program by the USGS Earth Resources and Observation Science Center.

“Much of the work at these sessions will show the Iraqi scientists how to develop, apply and interpret economic analysis of climate water-stress mitigation measures,” Ward said. “Surface water is an important source of water in the northern part of Iraq, while groundwater plays a bigger part of water use in the southern part of the country.”

The upcoming training session is an extension of similar programs currently offered by the College of ACES, on topics that include water-resource economics, microeconomic theory and mathematical programming. Future sessions will cover dynamic web development and reservoir-volume estimation, as well as updating Iraq’s national water strategy.

“This is an example of the worldwide activities that the College of ACES conducts resulting from the research conducted in water management in arid and semiarid lands,” College of ACES Dean Rolando Flores said.

For more information on the training session, contact Ward at fward@nmsu.edu, Amer at samer@usgs.gov or Salman at dinasalm@nmsu.edu. To hear Amer discuss the project on a podcast, visit https://www.usgs.gov/centers/eros/science/eyes-earth-episode-7-training-iraqi-scientists?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects.