Monday, December 17, 2018

3rd Annual Next Generation Water Summit (NGWS) to be held on June 12th – 14th,

SANTA FE, NM, December 13, 2018 – Early bird registration is open for the 3rd Annual Next Generation Water Summit (NGWS) to be held on June 12th – 14th, 2019 in Santa Fe, NM.
The June 13th keynote address will be given by Radhika Fox, Chief Executive Officer of the US Water Alliance. A national non-profit, the Alliance educates the nation on the value of water, accelerates the adoption of One Water policies and programs, and celebrates innovation in water management. Radhika will discuss how all water (i.e. rainwater, greywater, blackwater) will figure into our future solutions.
A few of the exciting topics that are scheduled include:
• “Utilization of Marginal Water” by Dr. Bernstein of the Israeli Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences
• “Emerging Viruses and Bacteria due to Climate” by Dr. Deborah Nichols, former Chief Anesthesiologist at Shriners Hospital for Children and Academic Faculty at University of Texas Medical Branch
•  “How Building Codes Save Water” by Hope Medina, Colorado Code Consulting
• “Irrigation Water Budgets – A Comparative Review” by Dr. St. Hilaire
• “Water Reuse – An Educational Journey” by Kyle Pickett Co-Founder & COO, Urban Fabrick, Inc. and  Co-Founder & Executive Director, The William J. Worthen Foundation the publishers of the “Design Professional’s Guide to Onsite Water Use and Reuse”
As in prior years, the Summit will be preceded by several technical training courses that offer advanced water certifications for attendees. Workshops that will be held before and during the Summit include:
• Commercial Water Audit Verifier Training • Water Efficiency Rating Score (WERS)® Verifier and Consultant Training • Greywater System Design

The Summit is a unique water and water reuse event that will feature builders presenting on Net Zero Water Houses and Near Net Zero Water houses.  These Southwestern builders will host a design workshop for builders, contractors, home owners or architects that need assistance in designing net zero water dwellings.

 Prospective attendees will not want to delay registering for this rare opportunity, as seats are limited. Early bird registration is available now through January 15 at the special rate of $200.
For more information on the Summit, please visit
Hosts of the Next Generation Water Summit will be the Santa Fe Green Chamber of Commerce; Green Builder® Coalition; City of Santa Fe; the Alliance for Water Efficiency, KUELWater, and the Santa Fe Area Home Builders Association.
About the Next Generation Water Summit The Next Generation Water Summit brings together the building and development community, water reuse professionals and water policymakers in a collaborative setting to share best practices and learn about innovative water conservation and water reuse techniques that can be used to comply with water conservation restrictions spreading across the southwest.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Bridge and Culvert Construction Guidelines for Stream, Wetland, and Riparian Habitats

From: Volke, Malia, DGF <>
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2018 3:57 PM
To: Volke, Malia, DGF <>
Subject: Bridge and Culvert Construction Guidelines for Stream, Wetland, and Riparian Habitats


The New Mexico Department of Game and Fish has published new Bridge and Culvert Construction Guidelines for Stream, Wetland, and Riparian Habitats. These guidelines provide recommended design strategies for maintaining aquatic connectivity and habitat quality when installing, maintaining, or replacing culverts and bridges. They also describe how improperly designed stream crossings can adversely affect fish, wildlife, and their habitats, as well as the importance of stream connectivity for maintaining populations of aquatic organisms.

Please distribute to those who may be interested. Many thanks to those who contributed to this effort.


Malia Volke, Ph.D.
Aquatic & Riparian Habitat Specialist
Ecological and Environmental Planning Division
New Mexico Department of Game & Fish
505-476-8160 |


Land Disturbance Associated with Oil and Gas Development and Effects of Development-Related Land Disturbance on Dissolved-Solids Loads in Streams in the Upper Colorado River Basin, 1991, 2007, and 2025

 Interesting report.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Civil engineer to evaluate effectiveness of water disinfection treatments

Civil engineer to evaluate effectiveness of water disinfection treatments
DATE: 12/05/2018
WRITER: Linda Fresques, 575-646-7416,
CONTACT: Yanyan Zhang, 575-646-5246,

As in other arid and semiarid parts of the world, water is a precious commodity in the southwestern United States. New Mexico State University civil engineering Assistant Professor Yanyan Zhang is working to evaluate if commonly used disinfection processes are effective in keeping the water supply pathogen-free and safe. Zhang recently received a three-year National Institutes of Health grant for this purpose.

“Bacterial pathogens in water pose a large world-wide threat to public health,” said Zhang. “In areas where water is scarce, we have to consider the use of treated water for drinking, irrigation, landscaping and so on. Disinfection is the last step before water is returned for these uses. It eventually returns to the water table.”

Approximately 78 percent of New Mexicans depend on ground water for drinking water and some 81 percent are served by public systems with water derived from ground water sources. More than 170,000 New Mexicans depend on private wells for drinking water.

Widely used wastewater disinfection processes include chlorination, ozonation and UV radiation. While they are effective in removing most of the bacteria, such as E. coli and Salmonella, they do not completely eradicate the growth of microorganisms.

“Most studies have focused only on how many of the bacteria are removed,” said Zhang. “Few studies have focused on what happens with the remaining bacteria. Surviving microorganisms after disinfection are the main risk and they can be environmentally transmitted to humans through potable reuse, agriculture irrigation and groundwater recharge.”

Zhang will examine water samples pre- and post-disinfection from three full-scale water reclamation plants in El Paso where treated water is reused for irrigation, groundwater recharge and surface water augmentation. Her goal is to determine the effect of various treatment processes on the surviving microbes.

She will examine the behavior and abundance of the microbial population in raw water and water that has been treated, seeking information as to whether they become more hazardous to human health as a result of treatment. She will also investigate the possibility that they become “super bugs” with increased resistance to antibiotic treatment.

“Preliminary studies show that low doses of disinfection increase the number of antibiotic resistant bacteria,” she said. “The bacteria can develop a small piece of genes that encode resistance to antibiotics and can spread to other cells.”

Another issue is that the bacteria can form the biofilm that makes it adhere to surfaces, such as pipes. It is interesting to find the biofilm is thicker and more difficult to remove after disinfection under some conditions.

The ultimate goal is to use the findings of this research on the effects of disinfection processes on the virulence and antibiotic resistance of water-borne pathogens to provide guidance regarding disinfection strategies in water purification, food industry and even medical devices.

Zhang, an NMSU faculty member of only two years, has a strong background in water treatment applications in pathogen removal from her graduate studies at the University of Missouri and a postdoctoral appointment at the University of Alberta, Canada. In 2017, she was selected to participate in the National Institutes of Health-funded Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) Data Science Innovation Lab for new interdisciplinary collaborations in microbiome big data analysis with mathematicians, statisticians and biomedical scientists.

Mentoring Zhang is Geoffrey Smith, NMSU professor of biology and an established environmental microbiology researcher. Smith has conducted extensive studies to understand how long microbial pathogens are harbored in environmental reservoirs in-between disease outbreaks, and to develop new techniques to detect environmental bioagents.

One of Zhang’s long-term goals is to establish and maintain an interdisciplinary research team at NMSU to develop effective approaches to reduce the microbial risks in reclaimed water for its
safe reuse in different applications. She currently has one graduate student working with her on this research and plans to hire another.

More than 100 High School Students to present water research project at NMSU

Students to present water research project at NMSU
DATE: 12/05/2018
WRITER: Carlos Andres Lopez, 575-646-1955,
CONTACT: Margie Vela,

More than 100 area high school students who participated in a community-based, federally funded water project will visit New Mexico State University Thursday, Dec. 6, as part of a presentation called “Water Conversations: Youth in Emerging Communities on the U.S.-Mexico Border.”

The project, “Rural Development: Using Photovoice to draw connections between social, built, and human capital for youth living in the colonias of the U.S. Border Region,” takes a broad look at the ways in which water access affects rural, unincorporated communities known as colonias that are common along the United States-Mexico border.

“I’ve been working with high school students from Canutillo High School in El Paso County, and we’re looking at how access to water is affecting young people in the colonias,” said NMSU Student Regent Margie Vela, who spearheaded the project and funded the work through a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. “The purpose of the study is to see if water has an impact on the educational attainment of communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.”

A 2006 water report by the United Nations found that women’s educational attainment is highly affected by access to water in developing communities across the world, Vela said. But Vela, a Ph.D. candidate in water science and management, wanted to see if the dynamics were the same in emerging communities along the U.S.-Mexico border.

“We actually did see a difference in the educational attainment of men and women that was opposite of our national trend,” she said. “Nationally, women from underrepresented or underserved communities out-educate their counterparts. But in the colonias, males are out-educating females. The trend is flipped. So, I thought: ‘Does water play a role in this, or not?’”

To answer that question, Vela is working with two cohorts of high school students — 150 in total — who collected data over a two-week period from their communities.

The students examined the complexity of water as a socio-environmental issue, Vela said, drawing connections between access to water, public health and wellness, education, citizenship, infrastructure and development.

The students first completed surveys about the demographics of their communities and answered questions about their confidence in tap water and whether they drink it.

“I trained them for about two weeks in their classrooms and then asked them to go out to their communities to take pictures of how their communities are interacting with water,” Vela said.

All 150 students will visit NMSU from 10 to 11 a.m. Thursday in the east ballroom on the third floor of Corbett Center Student Union. Vela said 20 students will formally present their findings before attendees, who will include Las Cruces Mayor Ken Miyagishima, among other local leaders. The presentation is open to the public.

Vela believes the students’ research will have strong implications for future water policy and infrastructure spending and research.

“I’d like to thank the general New Mexico population for supporting research like this,” she said. “It’s been really interesting to get down in the weeds with the students and really be a part of research that sometimes gets overlooked.”