New Waves August 2007

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

New Waves E-letter - August 29, 2007

Breaking news about water resources research and education at Texas universities - August 29, 2007

Wurbs joins Texas Water Resources Institute

Dr. Ralph Wurbs, professor in Texas A&M University's Zachry Civil Engineering Department, has joined Texas Water Resources Institute as a part-time associate director. Wurbs will work with Dr. Allan Jones, director, and Dr. B.L. Harris, associate director, to bring an engineering perspective to the institute.

Wurbs joined the Zachry Civil Engineering faculty in 1980 and has served as division head for the Department's Environmental and Water Resources Engineering Division since 1999. He will continue to devote two-thirds of his time to his engineering faculty duties.

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Central Texas conference highlights water issues, legislation

State Sen. Kip Averitt State Sen. Kip Averitt listens as Dr. Allan Jones, TWRI director, talks about the state of Texas of water. During his talk, Averitt summarized provisions in Senate Bill 3.

With Texas predicted to have twice as many people in 2060, planning for the state's water is not a simple process, said State Sen. Kip Averitt at a water conference Aug. 23 in Westphalia in Central Texas. During the session that ended in May, however, the Legislature passed several pieces of legislation that will help meet those needs, he said.

Averitt along with Jason Fenton, legislative assistant to Rep. John Carter; Dr. Allan Jones, Texas Water Resources Institute director; Dr. Lonnie Jones, Texas A&M University Department of Agricultural Economics professor emeritus; and Mike Meyer, former Falls County judge; spoke to more than 50 people on state water legislation, water issues and the planned Brushy Creek Reservoir. Brushy Creek Reservoir in Falls County is one of 19 reservoirs designated in the state water plan as needed to meet the future water supply needs of Texas.

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Texas A&M holds third annual desalination conference

Texas A&M University's Food Protein Research and Development Center - Separation Sciences program presented the third annual "Water Desalination: Water and Wastewater Issues and Technologies," practical short course from August 5-7 in College Station.

Dr. David BurnettDr. David Burnett, director of technology at the A&M System's Global Petroleum Research Institute, describes the mobile reverse-osmosis desalinator during a demonstration at the workshop in College Station.

The conference featured topics such as the future of desalination in Texas, industrial treatment technologies for wastewater and compact ozonation systems.

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TWRI awards Mills Scholarships to graduate students

The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) recently awarded Mills Scholarships to 17 Texas A&M University graduate students for the 2007-08 academic year to pursue water-related research.

TWRI's Mills Scholars Program, an endowed fund that supports research in water conservation and management, provided the $1,500 scholarships to the students to use for education-related expenses. TWRI uses the Mills Scholars program to encourage and assist current and prospective graduate students to incorporate water resources studies into their graduate programs at Texas A&M University.

Click here for the list of recipients

TWRI grant recipient studies arsenic contamination in groundwater

Texas A&M University international graduate student Dongsuk Han is working with his advising professor Dr. Bill Batchelor from the Department of Civil Engineering to develop a new approach to remove inorganic arsenic contaminants from drinking water.

Han, originally from South Korea and a recipient of a $5,000 2006-2007 Texas Water Resource Institute (TWRI) research grant, said that arsenic contamination in groundwater is a threat to human health because of its toxicity and carcinogenicity and is caused by the use of arsenical pesticides, activities related to mining, fallout from the atmosphere and the natural geologic weathering process.

"Arsenic contamination in groundwater is a serious problem to many water treatment facilities around the world," Han said.

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TWRI grant recipient estimates water quality parameters using remote sensing

Texas Tech international graduate student Bassil El-Masri worked with his advising professor Dr. A. Faiz Rahman from the Department of Natural Resources Management to develop spectral indices using remote sensing techniques to monitor water bodies.

El-Masri, originally from Lebanon and a recipient of a $5,000 2006-2007 Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) research grant, said that the traditional measurement of water quality requires in situ sampling, which is costly and time-consuming.

"It would be advantageous to watershed managers to be able to detect, maintain and improve water quality conditions at multiple river and lake sites without being dependent on field measurements," El-Masri said.

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Junior Master Gardener develops soil, water curriculum

The newest resource of the National Junior Master Gardener (JMG) Program—Operation W.A.T.E.R.: Dr. Thistle Goes Underground—was recently released and the program's staff is seeking groups to sponsor training workshops to educate teachers and youth leaders about using this new curriculum.

Developed by Texas Cooperative Extension, this horticulture and environmental science curriculum for students from sixth to eighth grade consists of group and individual activities and can be used for a school class, JMG club, 4-H program, kids gardening group or individual study.

Using Operation W.A.T.E.R.: Dr. Thistle Goes Underground, students can investigate a new mystery while they learn important concepts about soil and water, said Lisa Whittlesey, Extension program specialist and National JMG coordinator.

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Spatial Sciences Laboratory offers fall training courses

The Spatial Sciences Laboratory at Texas A&M University is offering several fall training courses including Combined Introductory & Advanced ArcGIS, Beginner and Advanced SWAT and Remote Sensing. These workshops will be at the Spatial Sciences Laboratory located in the Centeq Building in Research Park in Building B, Rooms 212 or 214.

Click here for dates and descriptions

New Publications/ Papers

"Priority Groundwater Management Areas: Overview and Frequently Asked Questions"

Valeen Silvy, Bruce J. Lesikar and Russell A. Persyn, Texas Cooperative Extension publication B-6191

Water shortages and water quality problems in Texas are prompting the state to address the security of its water supplies. One approach being taken is to create priority groundwater management areas (PGMAs) in critical regions. This publication explains the process for creating a PGMA in Texas.

"Questions about Groundwater Conservation Districts in Texas"

Bruce J. Lesikar, Ronald Kaiser and Valeen Silvy, Texas Cooperative Extension publication B-6120

Groundwater conservation districts (GCDs) are being created in many parts of Texas to allow local citizens to manage and protect their groundwater. This publication answers frequently asked questions about groundwater and GCDs.

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