Climate Change Impact Assessment for an Agricultural Watershed in the U.S. Desert Southwest
Subject: Climate
Source: Oklahoma State University, , University of New Mexico, Texas A
Date: Saturday 1st August 2020
Abstract/Description: Robust analysis of water availability under plausible future climate conditions is essential for adaptive water resources management, especially in water scarce regions. We analyze water availability projections in a heavily irrigated agricultural watershed located in the middle section of the Rio Grande Basin in the U.S. Desert Southwest. A set of 97 future streamflow scenarios based on downscaled, bias-corrected global climate model (GCM) outputs normalized by us to account for upstream human impacts are used to evaluate future inflows to Elephant Butte and Caballo Reservoirs (the principal surface water storage reservoirs upstream of the study area), possible future reservoir releases, and groundwater pumping to sustain irrigated agriculture. The streamflow projections describe a wide range of dry and wet hydrological/climate conditions compared to the average historical flows in the river, indicating significant uncertainty in future water availability in the Rio Grande Valley. We apply the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) to illustrate the impact of future climate on different components of the water budget at the watershed scale. We discuss implications of the projected water availability scenarios for sustainability of irrigated agriculture and groundwater resources in this dryland agricultural watershed where surface water and groundwater are conjunctively managed to cope with extreme variability of renewable water.
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Exploring paths for water security in U.S.-Mexico border colonias
Subject: Water Management
Source: Chilton Tippin
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: More than 134,000 people live in U.S. communities on the Mexico border that lack basic services, such as paved streets, electricity, public water, and sewer systems. Known as colonias, these neighborhoods have high incidents of waterborne diseases and house numerous residents who live in states of “water insecurity.” Based on evidence obtained in interviews, surveys, and ethnographic observations in two Texas colonias that lack access to water, this poster presents an argument for envisioning household water insecurity as a nexus, wherein lacking access to water draws in, interacts with, and contributes to a variety of household hardships, including those associated with health, time, stress, and budgets. Building onto this water-insecurity nexus, this poster presents findings on the “soft path to water” as a potential alternative for water services in particularly small, remote, and/or isolated colonias. The soft path focuses on decentralization, low-cost technology, and water conservation to increase supply and reduce demand. It shows promise as a cost-effective strategy that can be deployed in remote locations. Evidence gathered for this study describe the degree to which colonias residents themselves envision the soft path as a potentially meaningful solution to alleviate burdens associated with water insecurity.
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Urban growth of Ciudad Juárez Chihuahua (1920-2015): Hypothesis about impacts on the land use and land cover and depletion of the urban aquifer
Subject: Demographics
Source: UACJ
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: The rapid urban growth on a global scale, and its negative effects on groundwater systems, are attributed mainly to the concentration of population registered in urban areas. In this paper, the urban growth of Ciudad Juarez (1920-1940; 1940-1950; 1950-1960; 1960-1970; 1970-1980; 1980-1990; 1990-2000; 2000-2010 y 2010-2015), and its relation to changes in land coverage and land use at urban areas, and the depletion of the urban aquifer were analyzed. The results are derived from the statistical and spatial correlation between the covariates generated: Rates of Change of Historical Urban Growth (TCCUH: %), Rates of Change of Urban Land Use (TCUSU: %), Population Growth (Population: %), and Rate of Change in Abatement (TCA: m year-1). The growth was estimated at 35 222 ha. The use of housing is closely linked with industrial use and services. The static level of the aquifer showed an average TCA of -0.53 m year-1. The covariates that best explained the TCA are TCCUH and TCUSU. From the analysis of the behavior of the urban growth in function of the land uses, it is concluded that, housing is among those variables of urban cover which demand a greater water resource.
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Contribution of Geoinformatics for the characterization of the physical and geographical environment of the Rio Grande river basin
Subject: Geoinformatics
Source: UACJ, UTEP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: The use of remote sensing and GIS has had an increasing evolution in recent years, mainly with the objective of determining the characteristics of land use and land cover (LULC), or the monitoring of geo-environmental processes. Therefore, the general objective of this study was to analyze the spatial and temporal evolution of LULC of the territory located in the basin of the Rio Grande, in the United States and Mexico. Specific objectives were defined as follows: i) to determine the Coverages and use of Soil of Rio Bravo (1990-2015) based on supervised classification; ii) to evaluate spatial distribution of negative NDVI trends in areas with vegetation using the non-parametric measure of the Mann Kendall test; iii) to define urban growth projections of Ciudad Juárez for the years 2030, 2050 from Markov chains; iv) and finally, the identification of pecan orchards for the years 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015 through a classification process. In relation to the LULC determination of the Rio Grande (1990-2015) based on supervised classification, the results show the spatial distribution of the area occupied by each category in which the category that occupies the largest area is the scrubland, followed by descending order by grassland, forest, bare soil, urban, agriculture, wetlands and bodies of water. The spatial distribution of negative NDVI trends in areas with vegetation using the non-parametric measure of the Mann Kendall test, showed that the time series of the average NDVI values presents a clear difference between the different areas with vegetation. For example, the forested areas show the highest average values of the NDVI, followed by the categories of grassland, scrubland and, finally, the category of bare soil with the lowest average values. Furthermore, the preliminary visual inspection revealed notable differences in the NDVI trends related to the different categories of land cover and use. Finally, large areas of natural vegetation were found showing statistically significant negative trends in NDVI values, which is more evident in the upper areas of the basin, mainly in the forest areas at the head waters on the watershed. Regarding the urban growth projections of Ciudad Juárez, the result of the model shows a relatively small urban area growth (urban expansion); however, a potential increase in the densification of the urban area related to an increase in the impermeable area due to the occupation of vacant areas within the urban area, is present. Finally, regarding the identification of pecan orchards throughout the study area and by 2015, 8500 hectares were found, of which 770 hectares belong to Mexico, and 7730 hectares to the USA side.
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Use of drones for monitoring water stress in agriculture
Subject: Agriculture
Source: UACJ
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: The sustainability of natural resources is important for human survival. New technologies are evolving rapidly on different scientific fields and agriculture is no exception. One important subject on the application of new technologies is related to water resources efficiency in irrigation practices while reducing the ecological impact of inappropriate use of pesticides while reducing production costs in the crop cycles. For example, monitoring crop development throughout its vegetative growth while using drones, can help on measuring different parameters to verify its optimal conditions. Furthermore, the use of drones gives us an enormous advantage while comparing versus traditional monitoring systems where the amount of evapotranspiration of the crop in the different phenological stages of the plant can be measured and a more adequate irrigation schedule can be estimated. Moreover, fertilizer prescriptions can be implemented at specific sites and amounts required controlled, based on its nutritional deficiencies which can be observed with drones due to changes in chlorophyll production that can be detected in the leaves of plants while using special sensors (i.e. SEQUOIA camera). This technology gives us a specific result index of vegetation with which we can estimate these deficiencies (NDVI values). Pest damage can also be identified in multi-spectral value maps so it can address the problem exactly in the area where the damage is located (Precision Agriculture). Remote sensors in agriculture are of great help for farmers, since this is another tool which has different solutions, helping in taking better decisions in critical situations in extended ag fields.
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The impact of climate change on the deficit of green areas in Cd. Juarez due to lack of water using the SWIM model to a future 2030
Subject: Green Areas
Source: UACJ
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Climate change will have an impact over all the resources around the world, and one of the most important resources is water. The purpose of this project is to quantify an approximate volume of water needed for irrigation of green spaces and those needed to reach the green area index of 9.0 m2 / inhabitant proposed by international organizations, which according to various studies that indicate that maintaining an appropriate index tends to have a positive impact over the population´s mental health specially kids, the elderly and the low socioeconomic status population which are the most benefited. The estimated amount of water will include the volume of water obtained by precipitations for future projections (i.e. 2030). Based on these analyses, it is proposed to study the increase in the water deficit for irrigation of parks and gardens (due to the reduction in rainfall) in Ciudad Juárez, Chih., using scenarios generated through the SWIM platform as well as the possible impacts on the quality of life of its inhabitants.
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Valle de Juárez Aquifer hydric balance models from 1995 to 2040, considering the Representative Concentration Pathways 4.5 climate model.
Subject: Hydrology and Modeling
Source: UACJ
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Continuous exploitation of the Valle de Juárez Aquifer within the Hueco Bolson, accompanied by changes in the natural recharge system, has led to a limited hydric availability. To ensure a sustainable management it is necessary to quantify said availability, this approach can be further improved if we consider scenarios such as those of climate change. With this objective in mind new hydric balance models have been developed using the SWAT software. These new models include historic climate data as well as future projections based on the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 climate model of temperature change. The time series used goes from 1995 to 2040, considering a 5-year interval. The variables analyzed were precipitation, evapotranspiration, potential evapotranspiration, percolation, and groundwater recharge. The products obtained include tables, comparative graphics, and spatial distribution maps. Preliminary results show a strong influence of the precipitation in the percolation and groundwater recharge. The spatial distribution maps of each year groundwater recharge show a clear contrast of sections with high recharge values. A comparison between Fort Quitman measured and modeled flow was made.
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Evaluation of the aquifer recharge based on water administration of the water treatment plants in Ciudad Juárez
Subject: Water Management
Source: UACJ
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: With the use of the ArcGIS computer package, the SWAT tool was applied with variables such as precipitation, evapotranspiration, percolation, groundwater recharge and potential evapotranspiration. Six different scenarios were used to estimate extraction of variable flows from a wastewater treatment plant (WWTP): 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 m³/s or S0.5, S1.0 and S1.5; exclusion of water from the “Norte” and “Sur” WWTPs to see the impact on aquifer recharge (SNyS); the creation of a reservoir filled with tertiary treatment water with a refill rate of 1.0 m3/s (RSV); and finally, a Business as Usual (BU) scenario. These estimates were calculated for the period from 1995 to 2015, with an interval of 5 years for the determination of a recharge sustainability model applied to the Bolsón del Hueco basin in the border area of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua and El Paso, Texas. Maps were made to compare the recharge results, as well as a table showing the different annual recharge values for the proposed models. A significant increase was observed in 2015 for the 1.85mm / year BU model compared to 1.91mm / year for a reservoir model in the area within the Terrazas del Rio Bravo, considering it as the best option among the other model’s as a potential recharge area.
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Demographic Growth And Domestic Water Use In Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua: A Retrospective And Prospective Analysis
Subject: Water and Demographics
Source: UACJ
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: While pursuing a sustainable development, an important variable to evaluate is undoubtedly the demographic growth that has happened for several decades at developing countries. A major issue, due to the excessive pressure of population on the available natural resources, is to understand the increase on water demand. The high birth rate and the reduction in mortality places increase pressure on available water resources. The urban concentration of the population is evidently related to historical economic and social cultural factors which are related to urban and population growth. Man has intervened directly and indirectly on the environment, and society is responsible for its sustainability while mitigating some processes of acceleration and degradation of our natural resources. Ciudad Juárez has 1,391,180 habitants according to information from the 2015 Intercensal Survey, being the most populated city in the state of Chihuahua, and the eighth metropolitan area of Mexico. Together with El Paso, Texas, gathers together a binational area of almost 2.5 million inhabitants, being the second largest binational area in Mexico, white the border region of Tijuana-San Diego is the first. A predictive analysis is presented in this paper where the calculation of demographic growth was projected for the year 2030 while using five different methods, Arithmetic, Geometric by increase, Geometric by compound interest, Malthus and TCMA. A complementary analysis was done related to projected future water demand for the study area on the Mexican side of the binational border region of Paso del Norte.
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Modeling Salinity in a Semi-arid Agricultural Watershed Using SWAT-Salt
Subject: Salinity
Source: UTEP, Oklahoma State, Colorado State
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Arid and semi-arid regions with irrigated agricultural activities face many water quantity and quality challenges. Increased salinity in these agricultural watersheds due to natural (e.g., geologic formations) or anthropogenic causes (e.g., agricultural water and land management practices) is one of the major problems facing irrigated agriculture around the world. Elevated salinity levels in irrigation water can result in decreased crop yield and increased water demand for leaching out salt-buildup. Saline waters may also limit the application of high-efficiency irrigation practices such as drip irrigation. Distributed hydrological models such as the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) have proven to be useful tools to find major sources of water quality problems as well as estimating the impact of different anthropogenic activities on water quantity and quality. This study applies SWAT-Salt, a new modification of the SWAT code, to simulate fluxes of major salt ions in a water-scarce agricultural watershed, accounting for salt equilibrium chemistry reactions, including precipitation-dissolution, complexation, and cation exchange. The model will be calibrated using several observational datasets along the Rio Grande in southeastern New Mexico, U.S. Results inform agricultural water management and watershed management practices to mitigate salinity.
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Evaluation of a Microlysimeter Method for Measuring Evaporation from the Soil Surface
Subject: Agriculture
Source: The University of Texas at El Paso, TX AgriLife-El Paso
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Evaporation losses are seldom measured or estimated separately from transpiration in irrigated pecans, making the water evaporation rate from underneath the pecan canopy an unknown part of the water balance. Our objective was to evaluate a microlysimeter method for measuring water evaporation from the soil surface. We measured water evaporation using the loss of weight from saturated soil cores over a period of time until weight losses were decreased to very low levels. Two treatments were compared to evaluate any downward movement of water. We compared the microlysimeter measurements to evaporation pans and other data from a nearby weather station. The results showed that water evaporation rates were similar in both the two treatments and among the four replicates. Total evaporation was about 38 mm in the first run over nine days, and about 25 mm in the second run over 10 days; the difference could be explained by cooler night temperatures in the second run. This compares to an average of 75 mm over each of the same time periods as measured by pan evaporation. In conclusion, data from this study show that there was no deep percolation of water and evaporation occurred primarily from the top 7.5 cm of soil. This microlysimeter method could be a useful method in measuring evaporation in flood irrigated pecan orchards. We subsequently used this method to measure evaporation in flood-irrigated pecan orchards.
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Water evaporation from the soil surface in flood-irrigated pecans
Subject: Agriculture
Source: The University of Texas at El Paso, TX AgriLife-El Paso
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Evaporation losses are seldom measured or estimated separately from transpiration irrigated pecans, making evaporation losses from underneath the pecan canopy an unknown part of the water balance. Our objective was to measure water evaporation from the soil surface in flood-irrigated pecan orchards as part of a larger effort to better quantify the water balance for irrigated pecans. We measured water evaporation using class “A” evaporation pans, placed inside (under a tree canopy) in two positions, in the row and between the rows, and outside the pecan orchard (control). Additionally, we measured evaporation rates from the saturated soil surface over two-week time periods to estimate the “dry down rates” between irrigation events using mircolysimeters. We measured surface soil temperature and moisture content using 5TM sensors with ZL6 data loggers. Measurements of water loss and daily maximum and minimum water temperature were recorded every day from September 06, 2019 to the October 03, 2019. The results showed that water evaporation rates under a mature tree canopy (75% shaded soil surface) were 60-80% less than the control (4-7 mm day-1 vs. 7-9 mm day-1). Evaporation was related to the maximum daily temperature and the amount of shaded soil surface. Since soils are saturated with each flood irrigation (about every two weeks), stage one evaporation occurs for two to three days after each irrigation and continues at slower rates for approximately ten days until the next irrigation. In conclusion, data from this study show that evaporation losses can be significant (as much as 150 mm of water or approximately 10% of the total water applied) over the course of a growing season. Developing appropriate management practices to reduce evaporation losses could significantly improve water use efficiency in irrigated pecans.
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Soft Path to Water Guide for Colonias and Beyond
Subject: Water Management
Source: CERM, UTEP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: This project is in response to the conditions of people living in colonias, which are unincorporated communities lacking basic infrastructure such as potable water, and sanitation systems. The soft path to water is an alternative way to meet water needs through means such as conservation measures, collection, and use of rainfall, local water treatment, and local waste management. This method is an alternative to the hard path that relies on centralized infrastructure through single-pipe distribution networks and centralized waste collection. However, there is a lack of unified information about soft path technologies that could aid residents in identifying and implementing these technologies. Research across different media was done, including, books, interviews with professionals, and online sources to identify appropriate technologies. It can be concluded that even small steps on the soft path can have a significant impact on a person's water footprint and water resources. The outcome is a roadmap for the soft path to water that will lead to better access to water for residents of colonias and improved water management for all users.
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Urban Water Management Outlook in the Southwestern and South Central United States
Subject: Water Management
Source: Oklahoma State University
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: As population of urban areas continues to grow, so does the need to plan for and manage urban water to reliably meet demand in the face of variable surface water supplies and already-strained groundwater resources. We review urban water management plans in sixty six cities in eight states (Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah) in the south central and south western United States to illustrate mid-21st century urban water management portfolio in these regions. The implemented or planned urban water management strategies include long-term demand management, supply augmentation, conservation, flexible market-based strategies, and public awareness campaigns. By identifying various options under different thematic strategies, we provide a comprehensive portfolio of practical urban water management adaptation measures to cope with extreme water scarcity and growing demand. Furthermore, we discuss the future urban water management outlook in the context of intersectoral (urban, agricultural, and environmental) water management synergies and conflicts to offer lessons for other regions that face similar urban water management challenges.
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SWIM 2.0: An Enhanced Framework for Modeling Future Scenarios for Water Use
Subject: Modeling
Source: UTEP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Computational scientific models allow us to represent the environment in a way that we can better understand, and in many cases, provide projections of future scenarios to support decision-making. Nevertheless, interpretation challenges arise when disseminating results among stakeholders, both experts and non-experts on the generation of such models. The Sustainable Water through Integrated Modeling (SWIM) provides a human-technology framework that automates ingestion of data into models (i.e., data-to-model integration), and a dynamic web-based interface for scenario customization and interpretation of modeling results. Semantic and Machine Learning techniques are embraced to improve the relevance and meaning of model results according to the user profile. Our latest release integrates with two heterogenous models: i) The Hydro-economic Optimization Model and ii) The Water Balance Model, for which users can create scenarios and analyze results.
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SWIM into the Future through Canned Scenarios
Subject: Modeling
Source: UTEP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Surface and ground water flows in the Paso del Norte region (Ciudad Juarez, Chih - El Paso, TX - Las Cruces, NM) have become highly unpredictable in lieu of increased consumption and climate induced stress. Additionally, there is little regulation on the use of groundwater, leading to difficulties in planning for the future of water in this region. To achieve water sustainability strategies, one of our approaches was to use scientific models that allow users to understand, simulate, and optimize future scenarios. Categories of future scenarios include climate, policy, technology, and water resilience strategies. We present three pre-generated scenarios that were developed to target specific questions of interest. 1) How will affordable alternative technology affect urban water prices in the future? 2) How will an optimistic wet scenario influence ground water level? 3) How will crop acreage be altered as groundwater extraction becomes limited? Framing scenario runs around questions on interest facilitates stakeholder introduction to the regional models implemented.
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SWIM into the Future through Canned Scenarios
Subject: Modeling
Source: UTEP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Surface and ground water flows in the Paso del Norte region (Ciudad Juarez, Chih - El Paso, TX - Las Cruces, NM) have become highly unpredictable in lieu of increased consumption and climate induced stress. Additionally, there is little regulation on the use of groundwater, leading to difficulties in planning for the future of water in this region. To achieve water sustainability strategies, one of our approaches was to use scientific models that allow users to understand, simulate, and optimize future scenarios. Categories of future scenarios include climate, policy, technology, and water resilience strategies. We present three pre-generated scenarios that were developed to target specific questions of interest. 1) How will affordable alternative technology affect urban water prices in the future? 2) How will an optimistic wet scenario influence ground water level? 3) How will crop acreage be altered as groundwater extraction becomes limited? Framing scenario runs around questions on interest facilitates stakeholder introduction to the regional models implemented.
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Space-based Monitoring of Surface Water and Irrigated Agriculture Trends in the Middle Rio Grande Region
Subject: Agriculture
Source: UTEP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Surface water is one of the main sources of water for southern New Mexico and Far West Texas. The Rio Grande River supplies several sectors of users including agriculture, municipalities, industry, and wildlife in the Middle Rio Grande Region. These supplies contribute the growth and the thrive of irrigated agriculture in the region along the river and have resulted in changes in land use practices. This study applies space-based data that derived from Landsat satellite to visualize, monitor, and identify the trends in surface water and the irrigated agriculture in the region. Preliminary results show that surface water bodies have experienced an overall decrease in surface area during the last twenty years especially for the main water reservoirs of Elephant Butte and Caballo. The irrigated agriculture areas have decreased. In addition, there is a difference in the trend of change between the two parameters. Geographic information systems and remote sensing technologies are useful tools for analyzing earth surface change over time and for monitoring meso-scale regions that are experiencing climate change and water scarcity.
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Modeling Water Movement in a Drip Irrigated Pecan Orchard in the Mesilla Valley
Subject: Agriculture
Source: New Mexico State University
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Water balance is important to provide information and to conserve water. The flow of water in the system can be used to help and manage water supply, changes in management can increase water productivity in arid regions. For this study the soil water content was measured from one soil column within the orchard using time domain reflectometry probes (CS655 12cm, Campbell scientific), installed at different depths in the root zone of pecans and stored measurements in a Campbell Scientific data logger CR300. Water that passes the root zone was considered deep percolation. This study estimates recharge and model water flow through the soil in a drip irrigated pecan orchard to better understand surface water/groundwater interactions for improved river basin water management and quantifies water stored in the soil and lost through evapotranspiration. At the end of the research is expected to have a better estimate of the water that is consumed by the pecans and the amount of water that is percolating. Therefore, have a better quantification of the water that is used in agriculture and the water that percolates to recharge the basin.
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Urban Evapotranspiration in the Middle Rio Grande Basin Estimates for El Paso, TX; Las Cruces, NM, and Ciudad Juarez, CH
Subject: Urbanization
Source: Michigan Technological University, Texas A
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Urban evapotranspiration (ET) in semi-arid/arid regions is an important component of the urban water cycle, especially when freshwater supplies are limited. The study objective is to estimate urban ET in the Middle Rio Grande Basin to provide an understanding of urban evaporative water losses in the region for future water management decisions. The components of urban ET considered include vegetation and bare soil ET and evaporation from open water, infrastructure losses, and evaporative coolers. Multiple methods were used to provide an estimate of urban ET from individual components, as well as average annual ET for the three cities in the study area. Study methods include analysis of remote sensing data, water utility accounting and analysis of seasonal water use. Average urban ET for the urban study area, including evaporation from precipitation, is approximately 500 mm annually. Based on the study results, urban ET accounts for up to 60% of annual water demand for the three cities, with an annual average ET of 13 million m3 in LC, 64 million m3 in CJ and 91 million m3 in EP. Average m3/capita ET is 149 for EP (235 total demand/capita), 148 for LC (283 total demand/capita) and 50 for CJ (135 total demand/capita).
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Irrigation Optimization with Meteorological and Satellite Data to Improve Water Savings in an Intensive-Agriculture Valley with a Heavily Stressed Aquifer
Subject: Agriculture
Source: UTEP, INIFAP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: In aridlland agricultural areas where limited precipitation restricts crop production, better irrigation practices leading to higher water use efficiencies are urgently needed. In this work we evaluate a method for irrigation scheduling using meteorological and satellite data for estimating irrigation water needs based on crop water demands. A pilot study was conducted in a groundwater sustained agricultural valley in northern Mexico. Using Sentinel 2 imagery from COPERNICUS 2, processed with Google Earth Engine for the 2017 agricultural cycle, the Crop coefficient (Kc), reference Evapotranspiration (ET0) and the actual Evapotranspiration (ETa) were obtained. ETa was calculated using Kc obtained from a vegetation index (NDVI) empirical relation to ET0 from local weather stations. Crop water demand, and the soil water balance were assesed and the approach was tested on seven parcels with different irrigation systems: sprinkler, drip, and furrow irigation. Results from the irrigation scheduling showed an average of 355 mm of net water requirement versus the 562 mm farmers apply during the cycle, suggesting a 63% water savings with the implementation of this model. This methodology can be replicated in areas requiring knowledge of the actual water necessities of crops for improved sustainable water management in areas with groundwater stress.
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Evaluating the phytoremediation potential of Barley grown in salt-affected soils
Subject: Agriculture
Source: University of Texas at El Paso
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Soil salinization is a major threat that affects crop production in irrigated lands of arid and semiarid regions. The middle Rio Grande Basin that covers parts of west Texas and southeast New Mexico is no exception with about 73% of cropped land suffering from varying degrees of salinity. In over half of the irrigated acreage, salt sensitive cash crops such as pecan and alfalfa are grown. Salinity management in these crops include tillage (sub-soiling, chiseling or even profile modification) and chemical methods (gypsum and elemental S application). The remaining acreage is under cotton and owing to uncertainties in lint price, growers usually do not adequately address salinity issues. Therefore, it is important to develop less expensive methods to manage salinity in cotton fields. One such approach is Phytoremediation, which involves growing salt-tolerant and salt-accumulating plants. We are evaluating the potential of a recently developed salt tolerant variety (Solar) of Barley (Hordeum vulgare) to sequester salts, using a factorial design under greenhouse conditions. This ongoing study is evaluating the performance of two cultivars of barley under irrigation with four water salinities (4, 8 and 12 dS m-1, and 1 dS m-1 tap water as control) on soils amended with and without gypsum. Preliminary results on plant above ground biomass, biomass quality, plant height and number of tillers along with soil salinity changes will be presented. Results of this study can potentially provide cotton growers with a cheaper reclamation strategy for soil salinity management.
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Guiding The Establishment Of A Water Bank In A Water-Stressed Region
Subject: Water Management
Source: NMSU
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: Climate water stress, population growth, and legal challenges facing established water rights in the world’s dry regions are expected to exacerbate growing challenges. Irrigation farmers in arid regions continue to express interest in water banking as a solution to growing climate water stress. Often missing from these discussions is a roadmap describing methods to mitigate the effects of emerging water scarcity. The objective of this study is to adapt Ostrom’s Eight Principles for Managing Common Pool Resources with the preferences of local crop irrigators to guide establishment of a successful water bank model for handling water shortages. Local farmers in the Lower Rio Grande Basin of New Mexico, USA, participated in structured interviews and focus groups regarding their water usage and views on preferred water management and policy. Findings were combined with Ostrom’s management principles to design a framework for establishing a successful water bank. From this, a policy design model was built to formulate a charter document to guide establishment of a successful water bank. By making this research available to stakeholders and policymakers, both the charter document and its database foundation could potentially support the designing of successful water banks internationally.
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Examining the Challenges of Implementing Advanced Water Treatment for Arsenic Removal in Texas Small Water Systems
Subject: Water Quality
Source: UTEP
Date: Wednesday 8th January 2020
Abstract/Description: There are over 6,977 public water systems (PWS) in the state of Texas. Of these, 4,159 are small systems that serve populations of 500 or less. According to the Legislative Budget Board, a small water system is much more likely than a large water system to face challenges in maintaining adequate water supplies (LBB, 2019). This is due to the financial, managerial, and technical capabilities that result in having a smaller rate base than those systems whom are larger in size (LBB, 2019).The objective of this project was to examine the challenges experienced by small water suppliers who have implemented advanced water treatment systems for the removal of arsenic in the state of Texas. As a part of our study, an on online survey was sent to 40 water service providers who had previously struggled with meeting the federal arsenic standards for drinking water. Aggregate results show that in addition to the heavy costs that come with implementing advanced treatment systems for arsenic removal, small water systems experience challenges that range from limited staff and resources, to the operation and maintenance of the new systems, as well as issues with consulting firms hired to help with system implementation. After considering these challenges, this research highlights some recommended actions that could be taken to help alleviate some of these burdens for the water suppliers.
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Improved Irrigation Methods for Conserving Freshwater in Irrigated Pecans of the Desert Southwest U.S.
Subject: Irrigation Methods
Source: Girisha Ganjegunte, John Clark, Texas A&M AgriLife Research; W.L. Hargrove, UTEP; and Richard Heerema, NMSU
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: The Rio Grande Project area, covering far west Texas and southern New Mexico, is experiencing record water shortages due to prolonged drought conditions. Pecan (Carya illinoinensis) is a major crop grown the region. It is a water intensive and salt sensitive crop, which requires about 5 feet of irrigation per year. Border irrigation, a type of flood irrigation wherein water is applied from a field irrigation ditch at its upper end to leveled plots divided by earthen ridges, is the oldest and most common irrigation method used in the region. This method of irrigation can lead to over irrigation and wastage of precious freshwater. Pecan growers are generally reluctant to adopt alternative methods of irrigation because of the fear of salt accumulation in the root zone. This study evaluated drip and surface flooding irrigation methods effects on water use, in-shell nut yield and soil salinity.
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Middle Rio Grande Hydroeconomic Model for Policy Analysis: the Bucket Model
Subject: Hydroeconomic Modeling
Source: Frank A. Ward, New Mexico State University; Alex Mayer, Michigan Technological University; David Gutzler, University of New Mexico; Befekadu Habteyes, New Mexico State University
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Growing evidence of climate stress continues to pose water resource sustainability challenges for people who live in the Middle Rio Grande Basin of North America. Technical innovations, policy measures, and market-based solutions all receive growing attention. To address that challenge a “three bucket” model has been under development since late 2015. Its intent is to integrate technical, hydrologic, legal, and institutional measures for adapting to long run patterns of growing climate stress in the Basin. It is designed to improve understanding of the hydrology, agriculture, climate, institutions, and economics and to guide and inform policy and management debates important to the Basin’s water stakeholders. The model in its current configuration is a constrained optimization model that uses Generally Algebraic Modelling System. The objective is maximization of discounted net present value of economic benefits summed over uses, locations, and time periods, while respecting relevant institutional constraints, including terminal period reservoir and aquifer sustainability requirements. Sensitivity analysis was also conducted to observe the responsiveness of 17 dependent variables for the percentage change of four major assumptions used. The current status of the model run indicates an important breakthrough for connecting stakeholder choices to the use of scientific approach to managing water scarcity.
URL: Click Here to View
Spectral Signatures of Chile and Bean Crop Fields: A geospatial analysis applying NDVI to evaluate potential water use efficiency for Precision Agriculture
Subject: Geospacial Analysis
Source: Ana Laura Ruiz-Aragonez and Alfredo Granados-Olivas, UACJ/UADHE
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Precision Agriculture is a science that has evolved in recent years. This technology focuses its scientific basis on the physical phenomenon of electromagnetism. In this project, spectral information of two cultivars, Chile and Beans, were generated through remote sensors. An eBee drone and a Sequoia multispectral camera were used to obtain Normalized Vegetation Index maps (NDVI) of the crops to evaluate their state of health in five different stages of vegetative development. NDVI maps and spectral signature graphs showing the NDVI values ​​and the percentage of area covered by each of the values ​​registered for the five stages of development, were obtained. Results show that the temporal evolution of the spectral values ​​of radiated energy can be spatially correlated with healthy plants distributed at areas in which the application of some agricultural input (i.e., irrigation) is needed to improve the conditions of the crop.
URL: Click Here to View
Temporal Evolution of Static Water Levels in Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua applying geospatial modeling
Subject: Geospatial Modeling
Source: Arturo Soto-Ontiveros and Alfredo Granados-Olivas, UACJ
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Groundwater is a non-renewable resource indispensable for sustainable development. Urban expansion caused by demographic growth and lack of planning, generate impacts on groundwater levels. In this paper, we explore the decrease of static water levels that have caused a decline in the yield of wells, and a reduction in water quality during the years 1975, 1994 and 2014. Results show that the depth of static water levels under the urban area of Ciudad Juarez, has developed from 30m in 1975 to 140m in 2014, at some areas. Currently, the increasing demand for water resources has caused negative consequences such as overexploitation of the Hueco Bolson, which has affected communities, the environment, could have important economic impacts in the region and stress political situations, since decision-making does not follow adequate planning in the exploitation of groundwater resources.
URL: Click Here to View
Integration of SWAT scenarios and geodata in a Web Map environment
Subject: Geospatial Visualization
Source: Hugo L. Rojas-Villalobos and Luis C. Alatorre, UACJ
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Geospatial information distribution applied to scenario models is very common in meteorology, but scarce in the evaluation of water sustainability. This work joins the potential of the SWAT tool (Soil and Water Assessment Tool) to develop water availability scenarios and web map services (ArcGIS online). The generated SWAT data are read through a script in the programming language Python and are formatted to generate graphs and tables using Javascript to be published in Bootstrap 4. The geo-database is managed and processed using ArcGIS Desktop, later updated vector layers are added from ArcGIS Online. The graphs of the SWAT parameters as well as the scenarios are linked to pop-ups from the interactive map in ArcGIS Online. Water authorities and stakeholders can make better decisions using scenarios with updated data and improve the management of water resources during the dry season. Users need to read the disseminated data and the formats used easily. In this way, the visual impact is immediate and allows them to understand the processes, patterns, and geospatial relationships that the different elements of the water cycle have.
URL: Click Here to View
On the Development of Hydrological Variables from the Hueco Bolson – Valle de Juarez basin, Using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT
Subject: Water Modeling
Source: Katya Esquivel, Hollman Salazar, Sergio Saúl Solís, Alfredo Granados, UACJ
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Water resources are one of the main components for life and social development. Hence, sustainable management practices are imperative to ensure future availability for this resource, especially when climate change could have an impact on the hydrological cycles. As part of the research project: Sustainable water resources for irrigated agriculture in a desert river basin facing climate change and competing demands: From characterization to solutions, (https://water.cybershare.utep.edu/), the Mexican part of the study watershed has been modeled by a hydraulic mass balance approach, using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) program (see the link at http://swat.tamu.edu/). The analyzed area is comprised of six sub-basins, one main river (Rio Grande/Bravo), and two main aquifers (Hueco Bolson and Mesilla). Preliminary results from yearly and monthly averaged time steps for: 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2013, for hydrological variables such as Evapotranspiration (ET), Precipitation, Percolation, Deep Aquifer Recharge, and Potential Evapotranspiration (PET) are presented. Specific trends were observed for these variables, particularly when drought conditions were experienced. Description of the detailed procedures for the construction of the cited models are also presented, specially the definition of the Hydrological Response Units (HRU), by the integration of land use and cover layers, digital elevation models, climatological and river and channel networks.
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Water Challenges for the Alternative Agriculture Sector: Initial Research Considerations
Subject: Water Sustainability
Source: Karen De Anda, UTEP
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: The purpose of this research project is to identify what issues with water futures the alternative agricultural sector in the Paso del Norte region faces in regards to water quantity and quality. Currently in its initial stages, this research aspires to better address the distinct phenomena surrounding “alternative agriculture,” including the definition and significance of that diverse term itself. Preliminary findings from interviews with producers identify a central concern in community-based agriculture with how to conserve water, climate change being a minor non-prevalent factor, and in New Mexico, pressure from “use-it-or-lose-it” water laws. In the matter of water conservation, initially there appears to be an axis of variation between those producers who conserve water because of value considerations and those producers who value it according to cost and productivity as a factor of production. The initial findings include water concerns that fit previous knowledge of the biophysical challenges that all agriculture faces, as well as issues rooted in the particular values and goals of diverse alternative agricultural producers.
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Water Matters: A Residential Rainwater Harvesting Demonstration in a Low Resource Community in Presidio County, Texas
Subject: Rainwater Harvesting
Source: Jesus Placencia, Michelle Del Rio, Jesus Baca, Miguel Fraga, and W.L. Hargrove, UTEP
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: A community near Presidio, Texas, including the colonia Las Pampas, relies on hauled water for everyday needs. Most of the residents are elderly and haul water 2-3 times a week. A Health Impact Assessment, revealed that hauled water was good quality, but the greatest health impact was stress and accidents associated with the process of hauling. A water infrastructure improvement plan that would deliver water to some of these residents is under development by City of Presidio. Because it will be 3-5 years before water is delivered, under best-case scenario, we proposed rain-harvesting systems as an immediate solution for the community to reduce hauling and associated health impacts. Constrained by very limited financial resources and leveraging whatever resources we could to complete two demonstrations of the water technology. CERM provided funding for construction materials, Coca-Cola Bottling Company in El Paso donated 27 275-gallon tanks, and a student organization at UTEP, Engineers for a Sustainable World, donated labor as a service project for their organization. The results were two rainwater-harvesting systems that can capture about 2,000 gallons for outdoor use and reduce at least one hauling trip per week. We demonstrate a low cost solution for a typical water problem that is found throughout colonias. Rainwater harvesting provides a “soft path to water” for low resource communities on the U.S./Mexico Border. The installation also provided a learning opportunity for the 20 students who participated.
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SWAT Watershed Modeling Considering Auto-irrigation of the Agricultural Area in the Rincon Valley, New Mexico
Subject: Water Modeling
Source: Mingyi Huang, Sora Ahn, Shalamu Abudu, and Zhuping Sheng, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at El Paso; Ali Mirchi, William Hargrove and Maryam Samimi, University of Texas at El Paso; & Minki Hong, Texas A&M University
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: This study is to evaluate the applicability of Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model for auto-irrigation operation in Rincon Valley (2,466 km2), New Mexico. To predict the available water quantity of the watershed, the model was established by dividing the basin into 29 sub-basins as hydrologic unit codes (HUC12) and including 14 crops that spatial coverages derived from the crop data layer (CDL). The SWAT model was developed to incorporate irrigation of different crops using auto irrigation function with heat units applied to each crop. The SWAT was calibrated for the period of 2000-2002 and validated for the period of 2003-2005 using daily observed streamflow data. The evapotranspiration (ET), diversion water volume from the SWAT were verified for the period of 2000–2005 using monthly crop irrigation requirement data and diversions at Percha Dam. The average model efficiency, expressed as the coefficient of determination (R²), was greater than 0.85. The root men squared error (RMSE) during the calibration and validation periods was 1.3 mm/day at the watershed outlet. For the calibration results of streamflow, the average Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency (NSE) for the calibration and validation periods was 0.8 and 0.71, respectively. For the verification results of ET and diversion water volume, average R2 values were 0.84 and 0.95, the NSE values were 0.55 and 0.56, and the PBIAS were 21% and 15%, respectively. This study helps us to understand hydrological processes and irrigation in an arid watershed and provide guidelines for development of SWAT for other watershed with the Rio Grande Basin.
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Using Unmanned Aircraft System for Assessing Changes in Built Environment and Natural Systems
Subject: Change Assessment
Source: Wissam Atwah, Andrew Ellerson, Giselle Andrade, and Saurav Kumar
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Unmanned aircraft system (UAS) has the capacity to monitor both Built Environment (BE) and Natural System (NS) is an efficient manner. This poster explains the arrangement of a UAS to acquire and process images with a five-band multispectral sensor (MicaSense ® RedEdge). The study area was limited to the UTEP campus and nearby areas. To assesses changes in BE and NS a weekly survey was conducted on Sundays near the solar noon. For these surveys, the UAV was flown at an altitude of 100m with a velocity of 8.5m/s. Pix4D Capture® iOS app was used to program the flight path. The data obtained was initially processed with Pix4D Mapper® for alignment of different bands, radiometric corrections using the downwelling sensor, and generating corrected ortho-mosaic. The ortho-mosaic where then analyzed in Python to detect changes/anomalies in spectral signature with machine learning algorithms. Experiments are ongoing to relate anomalies detected by the machine learning algorithms to observed changes in the BE and NS.
URL: Click Here to View
Using a Bayesian Network based model to improve decision making for farms dealing with salinity.
Subject: Salinity Modeling
Source: Yohtaro Kobayashi, Andrew Ellerson, Wissam Atwah, Saurav Kumar, UTEP
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Managing water resources is a perennial issue intensified with urbanization and rising population. While making decisions, it’s difficult to fully understand how factors that affect the water resources management are interconnected and what unintended consequences changes is policy may have on the system. There are methods and models that can be used to connect the dots, an expert is often required to explain the results. We are developing a Bayesian Network based model which, graphically, can show the interconnections between the various factors affecting the systems and allow users to understand how changes in one factor may affect other linked factors. We will present a model that is being designed for a hypothetical farm in El Paso. The model concentrates on salinity issues with irrigation and should help to improve the decision making particularly regarding salinity management. When applied to real farms, the model should help farmers choose alternative irrigation methods as well as seeing the long-term effects of their current methods.
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IWASM: The Integrated Water Sustainability Modeling Framework
Subject: Online Modeling
Source: Luis Garnica Chavira, Git Gud Consulting SAS; Jose Caballero, Deana Pennington, Natalia Villanueva-Rosales, UTEP; Frank Ward, NMSU Alex Mayer, MTU, David Guztler, UNM
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Scientific models of complex water resource systems help us understand and experiment with the behavior of such systems. Nevertheless, most scientific modeling today requires the use of software that can be hard to understand, expensive to build and maintain, and present little online access. The Integrated Water Sustainability Modeling Framework (IWASM) is a software platform that enables the interaction of stakeholders with complex mathematical models through a web based graphical user interface and published webservices. Our latest release fully integrates with the Rio Grande Basin Hydroeconomic Model, also referred to as The Bucket Model, leveraging personalized customization of model runs based on: water supply scenarios, policy scenarios and user changeable parameters. Custom user scenarios are executed on the fly, whose results are presented in the form of dynamic data tables, charts and provenance visualizations.
URL: Click Here to View
Assessing Evapotranspiration of Pecan Tree using Eddy-Covariance Measurements
Subject: Evapotranspiration
Source: Olga Rodriguez, Mingyi Huang, Zhuping Sheng, Shalamu Abudu, Mingdong Zang, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center at El Paso
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Evapotranspiration (ET) data is of critical importance in irrigation schedule and water resources management. In this study we assess ET of pecan trees based on the Eddy-Covariance measurements at a pecan orchard in Tornillo, Texas. The ET tower was equipped to record potential evapotranspiration, precipitation, radiation, wind speed and direction, temperature and relative humidity. The data for the period between 2011 and 2013 was first processed and verify with energy balance equation. The data gaps were then infilled with different methods: multiple linear regression, partial least squares regression, and artificial neural networks. The ET patterns were characterized with the corrected data. The ET results were further compared with the Penman-Monteith’s estimates. The results show very good correlation. It was also found that most effective variables to predict ET are minimum temperature, max wind speed, maximum and minimum relative humidity, and solar radiation. The study provides guidelines for interpretation of the measured ET data and parameters needed for assessment of water use efficiency.
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Linked SWAT and RiverWare Model for Monthly Flow and Salinity in Rincon Valley, New Mexico
Subject: Water Modeling
Source: Xiaole Kong, Mingyi Huang, Shalamu Abudu, So-Ra Ahn, Zhuping Sheng, Olga Rodriguez, and David Ruiz; Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension Center at El Paso
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: In this study, we developed a monthly time step RiverWare model to simulate water quantity and salinity of the Rio Grande reach within Rincon Valley, and then linked it with a Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) model by using local arroyos runoff outputs simulated in SWAT model as inputs to RiverWare model. The monthly measured flows, concentration and loads of dissolved solids in the mainstream and drains from 1980 to 1988 and from 1989 to 1995 were used to calibrate and validate the RiverWare models. Flow and salt exchange between the surface water and adjacent aquifer (groundwater objects in the RiverWare) were then computed, and the transport of salt through the system was tracked using discretized salt and post-process approaches in the RiverWare. The results indicate that the linked SWAT+RiverWare model performed better as compared to a single RiverWare in simulating flows and dissolved solids. The Nash-Sutcliffe model efficiencies (NSE) for flow difference and salt loads increased from 0.58 and 0.88 for the single RiverWare model to 0.66 and 0.90 for the linked SWAT+RiverWare model, respectively for the model verification period. The proposed approach delivers temporal and spatial flow and salt exchange patterns between the river and the underlying aquifer.
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Assessing Technology and Tools to Improve Water Management within the Rio Grande Basin
Subject: Water Technology
Source: Allen Berthold1, Juan Enciso2, Alexander Fernald3,4, Hatim Geli3,4, Charles Hillyer5, Robert Sabie3,4, Zohrab Samani4, and Qingwu Xue2 1 Texas Water Resources Institute, 2 Texas A&M AgriLife Research, 3 New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, 4 New Mexico State University, 5 Texas A&M AgriLife Extension
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: Agriculture is a key economic activity throughout the Rio Grande Basin and requires substantial water resources. Growers continue to seek methods for improving irrigation scheduling and understanding irrigation requirements to maximize yields with efficient use of available water. Evapotranspiration (ET) estimates and crop coefficients are used in irrigation scheduling and are available through multiple sources (e.g., free websites, paid subscription, published literature). The accuracy of these products is not equal and, in some cases, is not known. In this project, growers will be surveyed so our group better understands data needs (e.g., timing of data, accuracy, precision, delivery mechanisms, and current tools used). We will compare different ET commercial tools and data sources with ground reference data to determine the accuracy. Remotely sensed imagery from both satellite and aerial platforms will be used to create high spatial/temporal resolution ET maps over three study locations representative of the geographic variability in the Basin and examine the relationship between ground measurements. This analysis will: 1) develop a decision support tool to help farmers select an appropriate ET product based on local conditions, cultural practices, and water availability, and, 2) illustrate the relationships between published and measured crop coefficients and yield verses ET.
URL: Click Here to View
Normalized Simulated Streamflow Estimates for Inflows into Elephant Butte Reservoir
Subject: Water Modeling
Source: Nolan Townsend and David Gutzler, University of New Mexico
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: The Rio Grande provides a vital source of water for municipalities and agriculture. We investigate potential future surface water inflows into Elephant Butte Reservoir using streamflow projections corresponding to the San Marcial USGS gauging site. First, we collect average monthly simulated streamflow values based on the Bureau of Reclamation’s bias corrected CMIP5 model output for the Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 8.5 scenario, initially using output from just one simulation, made by the Hadley Centre climate model. The simulated flows represent an entirely natural flow regime where dams, diversions and other human impacts do not exist along the Rio Grande. We compare the simulated flows to actual observations from a recent 20-year period, 1994-2013 to account for the difference between naturalized and observed flows. For both simulated and observed flows, a monthly average is computed over the entire 20-year baseline period, for each calendar month. Next, a normalization constant is computed for each month, for a total of 12 constants, using the following expression: Finally, the monthly normalization constants are applied to the entire simulated streamflow data set extending into future years. The goal is to force the values to mimic observed flows that feed into the Elephant Butte Reservoir. This, in turn, returns predicted values for future inflows into the NIFA project study area.
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Recent developments in sub-models in the Middle Rio Grande Water Balance Model: Urban evapotranspiration, Reservoir evaporation, Groundwater-surface water interactions, and Groundwater elevation model
Subject: Water Modeling
Source: Jessica Alger, Marjan Monfarednasab, Tristan Odekirk, and Hannah Weeks; Civil and Environmental Engineering, Michigan Technological University; and Sara Alian, Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: The Middle Rio Grande water balance model is a simple reservoir, aquifer, and river reach model. The model is calibrated at an annual time step to observations of river flows, reservoir storages and aquifer groundwater elevations, using a historical time period of 1994-2013. While river flows were calibrated successfully, the groundwater models need improvement before being used in further simulations. In addition, since the water balance model will be used to simulate future climate conditions, evapotranspiration sub-models need to be improved. Urban evapotranspiration sub-models are developed for each major urban area, based on analysis of time series of remotely sensed images of vegetation and open water. A model for direct evaporation from Elephant Butte and Caballo reservoirs is calibrated to historical climate station data. Historical groundwater elevations in monitoring wells are analyzed to choose representative wells for use in pumping-groundwater elevation regressions. A coupled, one-dimensional Rio Grande channel-alluvial aquifer model is developed to dynamically estimate aquifer-channel exchanges along river reaches.
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A Comparison of Evapotranspiration Between a Natural and Engineered System in an Arid Basin Along the Rio Grande-Bravo River
Subject: Evapotranspiration
Source: Thiemann K.; Gutzler, D.; Mayer, A.; and Teasley, R; Michigan Tech, University of New Mexico, and University of Minnesota-Duluth
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: In this study, we estimate hydrologic fluxes and storages in an arid basin featuring a narrow ribbon of intensive irrigated agriculture and urban use. The study basin, (36,988 km2), comprises the middle portion of the Rio Grande-Bravo, covering portions of New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua, Mexico. A recent 20-year period (1993-2013) is used to represent present day conditions and to calibrate a model that is made to simulate a naturalized system over the same period that is created using a hydrometeorological dataset that excludes human water use and infrastructure (Livneh et al. 2015). Preliminary results Show that evapotranspiration averaged over this period is 1.13 times greater than the naturalized system, attributable to irrigation (64% of overall ET increase), reservoir surfaces (32%) and urban use (4%). Since surface water fluxes and storages are insufficient to meet increased water demands associated with the increase in ET, the majority of the ET increase occurs at the expense of groundwater storage.
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Analyzing Water Bank Success Markers for the Rio Grande Compact Region
Subject: Water Banking
Source: Sarah Sayles, NMSU
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: In spite of persistent drought and possible changes in annual flows due to climate change, the state of New Mexico has a specific duty of water to the farmers in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District - a duty that is complicated by groundwater pumping, growing municipal and industrial needs, and changes in the legal water rights between pecans and other regional crops. Previous work has looked at farmer willingness to participate in water banking in the region, as well as the many ways in which a water bank might be implemented in hypothetical situations. However, water banking scholarship generally only provides a one-size-fits-all solution. The needs of a local water community tend to be characterized by more complicated problems than these simple solutions can resolve. The objective of this study is to provide an analysis of the success markers for real-world water banks in use across the western United States, and to outline different types of water banks used in regions with similar hydrologic, economic, or environmental concerns. By defining the success markers that individual water banks have established for themselves, an analysis of what constitutes a successful bank has emerged, with implications for the Rio Grande Compact region.
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Monitoring Impacts of Long-Term Drought on Surface Water Quantity and Quality in Middle Rio Grande Basin Reservoirs Using Multispectral Remote Sensing and GIS
Subject: Drought Impacts
Source: Stanley T. Mubako and William .L. Hargrove, UTEP
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: The Elephant Butte and Caballo dams form the largest surface water reservoirs in the Middle Rio Grande basin. The basin supports more than 2 million people, including the major urban centers of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico, El Paso, Texas, and Las Cruces, New Mexico, plus more than 70,000 ha of land with water rights for irrigated agriculture. However, this region has experienced severe droughts and growing water demand over the past few decades. This study applied GIS and remote sensing techniques to (1) quantify the shrinking and expansion of the reservoirs for the 44-year period 1973-2017; (2) demonstrate the use of multispectral satellite imagery for qualitative assessment of reservoir water turbidity; and (3) investigate and compare annual and seasonal variability of reservoir temperature. The study contributes to a better understanding of anthropogenic and climatic impacts on reservoir surface area fluctuations, water quality and quantity impacts due to evaporation and consumptive use, and provides historical and baseline data for future water management decisions.
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Partial root zone drying in field-grown pecans: is water use efficiency programmable?
Subject: Water Use
Source: Curt A. Pierce, Blair L. Stringam, and Richard J. Heerema, NMSU
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: With water supplies under increasing pressure from over-utilization and climate change, innovations in irrigation techniques have become the targets of new research. Partial root zone drying (PRD) is an irrigation method that utilizes alternating, directed-water applications to produce a staged, simultaneous, wet/dry cycle between the two halves of a root system in order to stimulate a drought response, even as the plant receives adequate amounts of water to sustain photosynthesis. While PRD has increased water use efficiency (WUE) and improved yields in certain plants, to date there has been no research-grade work on its potential for pecan production. Although recent studies on the effects of PRD in other crops have identified phytohormone signaling and the resultant partial stomatal closure as a leading driver of increased WUE, adapted microbial activity in the rhizosphere must also be considered. This study investigates the primary effects of a PRD regimen on field grown pecans and additionally seeks to identify possible roles microorganisms in the rhizosphere may play in improved nutrient mineralization, availability, and uptake at the plant/soil interface under this irrigation regime.
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Middle Rio Grande Land-use/Land-cover Change Detection 1994-2004
Subject: Land Use
Source: Omar Belhaj, Carlos Reyes, and Stanley Mubako, UTEP
Date: Monday 8th January 2018
Abstract/Description: The Middle Rio Grande Basin has experienced land use/land cover change in the last few decades. Fast growing metropolitan areas on the U.S.-Mexico border have influenced changes in land use practices, leading to multiple environmental issues that include loss of agricultural and native land to urban development, and growing competition for water between urban and agriculture sectors. In this ongoing study, we apply geographical information systems and remote sensing technologies to identify and measure land use/land cover change, focusing on the years 1994 and 2004. Preliminary results indicate increased urbanization and decrease in agricultural land and native vegetation during this decade. The study provides baseline information and insights into how land use/land cover change is impacting scarce water resources and altering ecological systems in the study region.
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Towards an Integrated Water Modeling User Interface for Stakeholders
Subject: Online Modeling
Source: Luis Garnica Chavira, Deana Pennington, Natalia Villanueva-Rosales, UTEP
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: Scientific models enable a better understanding in the composition and behavior of environmental systems, nevertheless the expertise required for their use complicates the sharing of findings and results with stakeholders involved in decision and policy making.
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Leveraging Self-contained Web Services for Specification, Execution and Storage Of User-defined Scenarios of Scientific Models
Subject: Modeling Cyberinfrastructure
Source: Luis Garnica Chavira, Jose Caballero, Natalia Villanueva-Rosales, Deana Pennington, UTEP
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: Scientific models are currently created using domain specific software tools that might be difficult to install, configure and use. The outputs generated from these tools are usually in specific or proprietary formats. Consequently, model outputs need to go through a manual process of data curation before they can be read or manipulated by other software tools. In order to tackle these issues, we present the Water Modeling Distributor, a self-contained Web Service acting as a middleware between the user and third party modeling software – the glue between Water Modeling tools.
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Utilizing NetCDF Data in Raster Form as a Means of Flux and Storage for Bucket Modelling on the Middle Rio Grande Basin
Subject: Scientific Modeling
Source: K. Thiemann, A.. Mayer, Michigan Tech University; R.Teasley, University of Minnesota Duluth; F. Ward
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: The goal of the project is to create a middle Rio Grande basin water balance, or “bucket” model to (a) simulate hydrologic storage and flux components using NetCDF data, (b) gain a first-order understanding of the relative importance of flux components to surface and groundwater availability and (c) allow stakeholders to understand interactions between choices of water supply sources and allocations on water availability in the context of a changing climate and water use patterns. The bucket model extends from the inflow to Elephant Butte reservoir (EB) in New Mexico to the Presidio International Bridge at the Texas-Chihuahua, Mexico border. The RG main channel is divided into six reaches. Inflows and outflows from each reach are calculated. Water storage components include the EB-El Caballo reservoir and three aquifers, including an alluvial aquifer that interacts with the overlying RG main channel reaches. Fluxes include surface water inflow and outflow at upstream and downstream boundaries, precipitation, evapotranspiration, surface runoff, baseflow, RG channel-alluvial aquifer exchanges, surface water diversions, and groundwater extractions. Surface water diversions and groundwater extraction are categorized by water use and consumptive use and return flows are estimated for each diversion and extraction. Data sets for fluxes and parameter values that control changes in storage in the surface water reservoirs and groundwater aquifers are derived from literatures values.
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Provenance of Integrated Water Modeling Workflows Using Design Patterns and Controlled Vocabularies
Subject: Provenance
Source: Smriti R. Tamrakar and Natalia Villanueva Rosales, UTEP
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: Water models are extensively used to perform simplified abstract analysis of problem domain. In any scientific model, researchers are required to access, analyze and compute data to produce useful information to the scientific community. It is challenging for another scientist to understand and replicate similar water model due to insufficient expertise and unknown dependencies between workflow components.
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Principles Guiding the Design of Water Banking for Shortage Adaptation in the Middle Rio Grande River Basin
Subject: Water Banking
Source: Sarah Sayles, NMSU
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: Drought combined with future climate threats are important indicators of future agricultural water shortages which might be expected in the Middle Rio Grande region of southern New Mexico, West Texas, and Mexico. While adjudication of water rights has been undertaken, the process remains incomplete, even though adjudication could simplify the administration of future supply shortages. Previous work in the region has explored water banking activities which local farmers would accept for adapting to shortages. However, progress in implementing such a system has been limited. This work identifies a structure for a water banking program suited to protect and sustain both regional water supplies and irrigated agriculture. This solution could allow water to move from low value senior rights holders to high value junior rights holders while incentivizing conservation. During summer 2016, the first wave of individual interviews was conducted with farmers to identify guiding principles to sustain water use in the region. Preliminary survey results have shown great interest in water banking as a method of marketing, conserving, and sustaining water. A remaining challenge will be to create a workable mechanism by which such a banking program may be implemented within the current framework of water supply and administration.
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Small Utilities Facing Drought and Water Quality Issues
Subject: Water Sustainability
Source: Marlene Flores and Josiah Heyman, UTEP
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: Research on water services for low income consumers in the U.S.-Mexico borderlands have previously focused on households without piped potable water or sanitation. Small community utilities are an important improvement for such consumers. However, such utilities and their customers also face significant vulnerabilities. We report on preliminary results of on-going research on accomplishments and challenges of small utilities in poor, geographically marginal communities in the border region. Our initial research propositions identify water quality (arsenic, salinity, etc.) and water quantity challenges in the context of drought/aquifer draw-down, and the fiscal “scissors” of infrastructure investment and maintenance with broadly low income customers.
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Water Matters: A Health Impact Assessment (HIA) in a U.S.-Mexico Border Rural Community Lacking Piped Water
Subject: Health and Water
Source: Jesus Placencia, Michelle Del Rio, Amit Raysoni, and W.L. Hargrove, UTEP
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: We conducted an HIA around a proposed expansion of water infrastructure in Presidio, TX. The extension of the city’s water system would provide water for the first time to residents and businesses north of the city along Hwy 67, including the colonia Las Pampas. Currently residents and businesses rely on hauled water for their use. Our methodology included interviews of key informants, a water quality survey, a household survey of residents and businesses in the area, and focus groups with residents and businesses. Results showed that the quality of water, even after hauling and storing, was very good. The biggest health impacts related to hauled water included stress from fear of running out of water; the inconvenience, time, and stress associated with hauling water; the risk of accidents; and for businesses, worker safety. Extending water service to the area would also promote economic growth and development. Both residents and businesses are willing to pay the cost of connection and the monthly cost of piped water. Since delivery of water from Presidio is not within sight, we designed a rainwater harvesting system as a pilot demonstration to at least provide residents with water for small scale agriculture and landscaping.
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Feasibility of partial root zone drying for water conservation in southwestern pecans
Subject: Water Sustainability
Source: Curt A. Pierce, Blair Stringham, and Richard J. Heerema, NMSU
Date: Thursday 5th January 2017
Abstract/Description: Pecan production in New Mexico and Arizona continues to expand amidst persistent drought and reduced water resources. With flood-irrigation enduring regionally as the most widespread irrigation practice on pecans, there exists an immediate need to investigate more water efficient alternatives. Partial root zone drying (PRD) is an irrigation method that utilizes alternating, directed-water applications to produce a staged wet and dry cycle between two sides of a root system. On the drying side, phytohormone signaling helps modulate stomatal conductance, increasing the water use efficiency of some plants. The practice has led to substantial water savings and improved yields in grape production, with similar or promising results in other crops such as apple. To date, no research grade work has experimented with this method of water conservation on pecans. This research will investigate the effects of PRD on field-grown pecans, both producing and immature, to assess its potential in the pecan industry.
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Projected Streamflow Changes in the Middle Rio Grande Basin
Subject: Water Sustainability
Source: Justin Norris, David Gutzler
Date: Wednesday 4th January 2017
Abstract/Description: The Rio Grande is an important source of water for much of the Southwest US and Northern Mexico. Rio Grande surface flow provides the upstream inflow boundary condition for water models being developed for the NIFA project. As climate continues to change, Rio Grande flow upstream from Elephant Butte Reservoir is expected to be impacted. This presentation describes steps toward the development of streamflow projections for the Rio Grande in New Mexico, for use by NIFA project models downstream. Through the use of the BoR’s downscaled CMIP5 model data, we examine simulations of streamflow out to the year 2099. Average annual streamflow is projected to shrink by 55 (1.4%) cubic feet/second (cfs) every decade, with a slight increase in spring flows of 29 cfs (0.7%), and a much larger summer decrease of 172 cfs (4.3%) per decade. Additionally, peak streamflow is projected to occur earlier in the year, from May/June to April/May. Change in snow water equivalent in the Rio Grande headwaters is shown to be the leading driver in decreasing streamflow, with precipitation and temperature being the lead drivers of the snow water. We are currently still analyzing these variables to determine which is most important.
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Urban Demand Forecast Modeling: A Systematic Approach to Modern Modeling and Forecasting in El Paso
Subject: Forecast Modeling
Source: Tallen Capt, W. Shane Walker, and Ali Mirchi, UTEP
Date: Wednesday 5th August 2020
Abstract/Description: Modern day water management operators make decisions based on understanding future demands in the short, medium, and long-term time frames. The application of the many sociological, environmental, and policy driven components to how water is used in a city can be disaggregated into individual components using a multi-method modeling approach. Using mechanistic models that can display this information can enhance the understanding of complex water consumption trends and allow for improved future water management strategies. For the city of El Paso using this methodology, water predictions can be made with a R2 value of .94 and .98 for predicting on a daily time scale and monthly time scale 5 years into the future. With the ability to predict water demands into the future pressure forces can be applied to the system to observe changes. System pressures include changes to amount of precipitation, temperature fluctuations, policy changes, cost of water changes, and sociological stresses. After applying these stresses, a 5 year prediction of peak day demand, daily demand, and monthly demand can be made to assists in expansion, modification, and long term planning of water treatment facilities.
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Combining geochemical tracers with geophysical tools to study sources of groundwater salinity in the Mesilla Bolson aquifer of the semi-arid Rio Grande watershed
Subject: Groundwater Salinity
Source: Lin Ma1, Matthew Hiebing1, Sandra Garcia1, Anna Szynkiewicz2, Diane Doser1 1 Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX 79968 2 Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN 37996
Date: Wednesday 5th August 2020
Abstract/Description: Mesilla Bolson is an important alluvial aquifer of the semi-arid Rio Grande watershed. It is one of major groundwater sources for El Paso, Texas and is also extensively used for agriculture irrigation in this region. However, high concentrations of total dissolved solids in some areas significantly impact groundwater quality in this aquifer. For example, an increase in groundwater salinity is generally observed from north to south within the aquifer. The salinity change is possibly due to 1) runoff and recharge from agricultural activity; 2) natural upwelling of deeper brackish groundwater. In order to better characterize major salinity sources, we sampled ~50 wells of the Mesilla Bolson in 2015-2016 for determination of uranium (234U/238U), boron (11B), and sulfur (34S) isotope compositions. In addition, we applied a geophysical gravity survey to determine the possible influences of faults on groundwater quality. Our results suggest that the groundwater resources of this alluvial aquifer have been already impacted by human activities such as runoff and recharge from agricultural irrigation and municipal discharges. Natural upwelling is likely responsible for the salinity increases near some faults, which act as conduits for saline groundwater affected by dissolution of evaporites within the deeper basin.
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Changes in the water delivery system in a desert wetland and its effects on macroinvertebrate communities
Subject: Water Delivery Effects
Source: Anna Piña, Viridiana Orona, and Dr. Vanessa Lougheed, University of Texas at El Paso
Date: Wednesday 5th August 2020
Abstract/Description: The relatively rare freshwater ecosystems in the arid southwestern United States are highly vulnerable to climate change. Thus their understanding and protection is critical. The Rio Bosque (RB) wetland (El Paso, TX) was created in 1997 and has been without a perennial water source since that time. In 2016, substantial improvements to the water delivery system allowed the delivery of water to two wetland cells for the entire summer, resulting in the flooding of more than 30 acres and the development of diverse wetland vegetation. This project aimed to examine how aquatic macroinvertebrate communities at the RB were improved through the provision of a year-round water source. Samples of invertebrates were collected from two different sites at the RB in summers of 2014 and 2016, and 4 different sample sites in 2017. The specimens were then identified to genus or species-level. In 2014, samples were from a small vegetated channel flooded by groundwater, whereas wetland ponds receiving treated wastewater were sampled in 2016 and 2017. Dragonflies and damselflies (Odonata) were the predominant aquatic species, followed by dipterans, ephemeropterans and coleopterans. Multivariate analysis (NMDS) indicates that the community composition was different among the 3 sampling years, although there appeared to be no difference in the occurrence of sensitive species. 2016 and 2017, while similar, remained separated on the NMDS; possibly due to dramatic changes in vegetation between the two years. These results will be compared with data collected from other sites throughout the region to determine how this created wetland contributes to regional diversity.
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