Rio Grande Basin Initiative

2008-09 Deliverables

Task 3 Research
Principal Investigator(s): Ari Michelsen

  1. Continue development of the Rio Grande Coordinated Water Resources Database, GIS and hydrologic model. Development of the Coordinated Water Resources Database and GIS will continue providing readily available water manager and public access to real-time and historical water resources information. Major elements in this phase are the development of a conjunctive surface water and groundwater model designed to link to the Upper Rio Grande River Operations Model. This project is being conducted with the Paso del Norte Watershed Council and in partnership with numerous local, state, federal agencies and organizations. Resources and partnerships are being leveraged with support from the USACE and USBR. Efforts involve AgriLife Research scientists (e.g. Zhuping Sheng, Ari Michelsen, Srinivasan), NMSU scientists (Phil King, Bobby Creel, Chris Brown), University of Juarez scientists (Alfredo Granados) and other stakeholders. Information and results from RGBI Tasks 1, 3, 4 and 8 are contributing to development of this effort.
  2. Produce and broadly distribute "Drought Watch on the Rio Grande," an informational and educational outreach publication to increase awareness and knowledge of current river water supply, conservation, storage and water allocation conditions in the upper Rio Grande Basin and bi-state Rio Grande Project region of New Mexico and Texas. Drought Watch is produced in collaboration with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation. Ari Michelsen, Texas AgriLife Research and Filiberto Cortez, El Paso Office, USBR.
  3. Evaluate the hydrologic, institutional, economic and sustainable concentrate management feasibility of increasing fresh water supplies by nanofiltration and reverse osmosis desalination and use of winter irrigation return flows. This pilot program will analyze treatment, institutional, regulatory, economic, hydrologic agricultural production and urban irrigation use potential of the treatment and use of irrigation return flows and management of treatment concentrates. This research and preparation of the technical report will be conducted in collaboration with UTEP and NMSU scientists and leverages support from EPWU, AWWARF and USBR. This research effort is also closely linked with several other RGBI tasks and involves Drs. Zhuping Sheng, Genhua Niu, Seiichi Miyamoto and George Di Giovanni.
  4. Evaluate proposed agricultural water conservation best management strategies for applicability and effectiveness in Far West Texas.  An integrated approach will be used involving agricultural engineers, hydrologists and economists. This research will be conducted in close collaboration with producers and the El Paso County Water Improvement District #1, Hudspeth County Conservation and Reclamation District and Hudspeth County Underground Water Conservation District. Findings will be submitted for journal publication and presented at regional and professional meetings including the Far West Texas Water Planning Group. RGBI funding will be leveraged by $40,000 in funding from the Texas Water Development Board.   Ari Michelsen, Zhuping Sheng, Marissa Chavez, Ron Lacewell and James Gilley, Texas AgriLife Research. 
  5. Continue analyses of the benefits and impacts of alternative water management and incentive policies such as water marketing and transfers using integrated hydrologic, institutional and economic models. Results will be presented at meetings and papers submitted for peer reviewed journal publication. Ari Michelsen, Texas AgriLife Research with Frank Ward NMSU and James Booker, Sienna College.
  6. Participate as a member of the Rio Grande Compact Commission’s, Rio Grande Project Salinity Assessment and Management Coalition member to develop an assessment program and implement salinity reduction management strategies.  RGBI funds will be leveraged with approximately $100,000 in resources from the USGS, USACE, Texas Water Development Board and New Mexico Office of the State Engineer. This task will be conducted in collaboration with TWDB, TCEQ, EPCWID#1, EPWU, USBR, NMOSE, NMISC, NMED and NMSU.
  7. Respond to invited requests and continue assistance in local, state, regional and national water management efforts and meetings to coordinate and further improvements in water resources research, education and related activities.
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