See you next Thursday, November 1st for another Science on Tap
Bring a friend or friends, make a night of it!
Water Resources in the Middle Rio Grande: A Storm is Brewing but It Doesn’t Look Like Rain
Professor of Civil Engineering
Director, Water Resources Program
University of New Mexico
There is a lot of water that flows through the middle reach of the Rio Grande or is present in underlying aquifers. Unfortunately, all of it is appropriated and in fact permits to divert water exceed the actual wet water available. This talk will summarize how much water is present and how it is used. The discussion will then turn to some of the principal hydrologic and regulatory issues that constrain its use. Finally, we will talk about five of the biggest water challenges facing the region: 1) resolution of Native American water rights, 2) permits granted to pump ground water without owning water rights, 3) increased demand for future population growth, 4) water needs for endangered species, and 5) impacts of climate change on water resources
Increasing demand for water and likely future decreases in supply will force New Mexicans to make some very tough choices regarding allocation of water for economic, agricultural, social, cultural, environmental and quality-of-life uses. This presentation will discuss the factors associated with managing water so that the necessary community discussion can be based on knowledge of the resource and the consequences of future decisions.
Bruce Thomson grew up in California, went to graduate school in Texas (Rice University), then split the difference and settled in Albuquerque. He is a Professor of Civil Engineering and Director of the Water Resources Program at UNM. His research and teaching interests range across 15 orders of magnitude in size, from the chemistry of inorganic constituents (sizes less than 1 nanometer) to water resources of the state of New Mexico and the southwest (greater than 1,000 kilometers).