New Waves October 2008

Breaking news about water resources research and education in Texas

New Waves E-letter - October 28, 2008

Director Jones leaving TWRI for Dallas Center

Dr. Allan JonesDr. Allan Jones, director of the Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) since 2000, is leaving the institute to take a faculty position at the Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Urban Solutions Center at Dallas. In his Dallas position, Jones will work under Resident Director of Research Dr. Frank Gilstrap to focus on the effects of urbanization on water resources.

Jones joined Texas AgriLife Research (then Texas Agricultural Experiment Station) in 1988 as resident director of research at Blackland Research and Extension Center. He has served as assistant vice chancellor of agriculture and life sciences and associate director of Texas AgriLife Research since 1996. He has also served as a member of AgriLife's Federal Relations team.

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Texas A&M AgriLife teams acknowledged for excellence

Two teams of Texas AgriLife Research and Texas AgriLife Extension Service staff won awards at the recent American Society of Agronomy ASA) annual meeting in Houston.

The team of Dr. Diane Boellstorff, Jaclyn Tech, Dr. Mark McFarland and Dr. Raghavan Srinivasan won a certificate of excellence for the Southern Region Water Quality Information System Web site:

The team of Jennifer Peterson, McFarland, Nikki Dictson, Matt Berg and Boellstorff won a certificate of excellence for their Texas Watershed Steward Handbook.

ASA is an international scientific society headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin. The education materials award program has judged and provided awards to meritorious Extension materials for nearly 20 years.

Irrigation training program set for Rio Grande Valley, Gulf Coast

The Texas Water Resources Institute (TWRI) is continuing to co-sponsor irrigation training events around the state as part of its Irrigation Training Program (ITP).

The next event, the 7th Rio Grande Valley Irrigation Conference and Trade Show, will be on Wednesday, Oct. 29 in Mercedes. Following the valley program, the Gulf Coast Irrigation Conference and Trade Show is set for Tuesday, Nov. 18 in Sinton.

At each training program, irrigation experts will speak on efficient irrigation systems and their operation and management. Other topics are specific to the location.

To continue reading the story, click here.

Burnett receives award for his work on oilfield brine desalination

Texas A&M Engineering's David Burnett received the Health, Safety, Environment/Sustainable Development Award at the 7th Annual World Oil Awards Oct. 16 for making significant strides in protecting the environment through technical innovation.

Burnett is the director of technology for the Global Petroleum Research Institute (GPRI), part of the Harold Vance Department of Petroleum Engineering at Texas A&M University and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and a frequent collaborator with TWRI.

To continue reading the "Texas Engineering" story, click here.

Tech researchers receive Ogallala water study grant

Two Texas Tech University researchers are part of a team receiving a $747,528 grant from the National Science Foundation studying water scarcity in the Ogallala Aquifer.

Researchers Lucia Barbato, associate director of the Center for Geospatial Technology, and Colleen Barry-Goodman, director of the Earl Survey Research Lab in the Department of Political Science at Texas Tech, will use the three-year grant from the Human and Social Dynamics competition to study changing societal attitudes towards water scarcity as affected by ethanol production and increasing groundwater depletion of the Ogallala Aquifer.

The research team is comprised of four researchers from three different universities. Barbato is responsible for the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) analysis component and Barry-Goodman is responsible for managing the survey.

To continue reading the Texas Tech news release, click here.

TCEQ forms water quality planning division

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality recently formed a new Water Quality Planning Division dedicated to improving water quality with Kelly Keel as the new director.

This new division consolidates staff from the Monitoring Operations, Office of Compliance and Enforcement and part of the Water Quality Standards Team with the existing water planning and estuary programs in the Chief Engineer's Office. The division has three sections: Planning and Implementation, Monitoring and Assessment and the Houston Laboratory.

"This new team will allow the agency to take a comprehensive, coordinated approach to water quality planning, from identifying sources and addressing impairments to monitoring and wetland restoration efforts," said Mark Vickery, TCEQ's executive director. "This organizational change will consolidate and enhance the agency's technical strengths to better assess water quality impairments and help match appropriate approaches to designated uses."

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Texas Stream Team "Caring for Our Waters" annual partner meeting

The annual Texas Stream Team Partner meeting is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 13 at the River Systems Institute headquarters in San Marcos, Texas.

Texas Stream Team "Caring for Our Waters," formerly Texas Watch, will use this year's meeting to focus on bringing resources and capacity to partners and volunteers of water quality monitoring programs in Texas. "Changes in today's climate, business, and growing water demand make now more important than ever to expand volunteer monitoring benefits from Texas Stream Team programs," said Acting Director Jason Pinchback.

Pinchback said Texas volunteer monitoring is adapting to water conditions as the number of impaired and threatened water bodies continues to grow.  Among other topics, the partner meeting will focus on E.coli monitoring and bacteria surveys, as well as sediment and bacteria curricula development.

If planning to attend, individuals should RSVP to Terry Wendland at

Texas Stream Team is a network of over 1400 partners and volunteers working to gather and make available information about the natural resources of Texas.  Established in 1991, Texas Stream Team is administered through Texas State University, the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

To learn more about the Texas Stream Team visit

IBWC names new chiefs

The U.S. and Mexican governments have named new chiefs for their sections of the International Boundary and Water Commission following the deaths of their commissioners in a plane crash last month.

Al Riera, the agency's principal engineer of operations, is the new U.S. acting commissioner for the IBWC in El Paso. Riera's department was responsible for resolving binational issues between Mexico and the U.S., and overseeing 10 field offices located in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California.

The new interim commissioner of the IBWC's Mexican section is Luis Antonio Rascón Mendoza, who will oversee the office in Juárez.

The cause of the crash that killed former IBWC Commissioners Carlos Marin (U.S. Section) and Arturo Herrera Solis (Mexico section) is under investigation by Mexican authorities.

(Story from El Paso Times)

Watershed Steward programs offered in Comanche and Weslaco

Texas Watershed Steward training programs aimed at helping citizens improve and protect their water resources are making their way around Texas.  Two upcoming workshops are planned for the Leon River and Arroyo Colorado watersheds.

The Leon River Watershed Steward program is Oct. 30 at the Comanche Community Center in Comanche, Texas, and an Arroyo Colorado workshop is set for Nov. 20 at Rio Farms in Monte Alto, Texas. Both training events will last from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the scheduled date.

Those who partake in the free, one-day educational workshops will learn about watershed systems, water quality regulation and monitoring, and methods to improve water quality.

Texas AgriLife Extension Service program specialist Jennifer Peterson said, "Texas Watershed Stewards is a great way to get involved and make a difference in your watershed."

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News from TWRI Water Resources Training Program

5th International SWAT Conference set

Save the Date! The 2009 5th International SWAT Conference will be Aug. 5-7, 2009 at the University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado.

Workshops will be offered Aug. 3-4, 2009 and include: Introductory SWAT, Advanced SWAT, SWAT Developers, and Integrated APEX/SWAT.

Please visit the conference Web site for more information, including conference and workshop registration, lodging information, and more.

Floodplain Delineation with HEC-RAS and GIS Course

Register now for the Floodplain Delineation Course with HEC-RAS and GIS course on Dec. 3-5, 2008.

The two and a half-day course will focus on the fundamental concepts of open-channel hydraulics and include hands-on applications of the HEC-RAS and HEC-GeoRAS software packages. Instructors will discuss steady and unsteady flow simulations using HEC-RAS and the delineation and mapping of floodplains using the HEC-GeoRAS tool.

For more information or to register online, visit Early registration ends Nov. 19, 2008. Upon course completion, participants will receive Texas A&M University CEUs.

Early registration for watershed planning course ends soon

Don't forget to register for the Texas Watershed Planning Short Course at the Mayan Ranch in Bandera, TX on Jan. 12-16, 2009.

This week-long course will familiarize participants with EPA's nine key elements of a watershed protection plan and the general principles of and tools for: Building Partnerships, Assessing Watersheds, Identifying Solutions, and Designing an Implementation Program.

Don't miss out on this excellent opportunity. There are a limited number of seats available, so reserve your seat by registering today. For more information or to register online, visit Early registration ends Nov. 11, 2008 and upon course completion, participants will receive CEUs from the National Registry of Environmental Professionals.

First Brackish Groundwater Desalination Conference held in El Paso

The first Brackish Groundwater Desalination Conference, teaching the ends and outs of groundwater desalination, will be held Nov. 5-6 at the new TecH20 Center in El Paso, Texas.

The Water Environment Association of Texas, El Paso Water Utilities, Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, American Water Works Association, and Texas Water Development Board are sponsoring the two half-day conference.

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New Publications

Seymour Aquifer Water Quality Improvement Project, Final Report, J. Sij, C. Morgan, M. Belew, D. Jones, and K. Wagner, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-332, 2008

Water Loss Test Results for the Pipeline Units: I-19/I-18, I-7A, and I-22 Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 2, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-330, 2008

Water Loss Test Results: West Main Canal United Irrigation District of Hidalgo County, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-329, 2008

Water Loss Test Results for Lateral A Before and After Lining Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 2, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-328, 2008

Water Loss Test Results Main 'J' Canal Delta Lake Irrigation District, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-327, 2008

Seepage Test Loss Results The Main Canal Valley Municipal Utility District No. 2, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-326, 2008

Ponding Test Results Seepage and Total Losses Main Canal B Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 16, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-325, 2008

Ponding Test Results Seepage and Total Losses, North Alamo Main Canal Hidalgo County Irrigation District No. 2, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-324, 2008

Ponding Test Results Seepage and Total Losses, Secondary Canals 13, 16, and 29 Donna Irrigation District Hidalgo County No. 1, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-323, 2008

Water Loss Test Results for the West Main Pipeline United Irrigation District of Hidalgo County, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-322, 2008

Installation of River and Drain Instrumentation Stations to Monitor Flow and Water Quality and Internet Data Sharing, Z. Sheng, C. Brown, B. Creel, R. Srinivasan, A. Michelsen and M. P. Fahy, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-320, 2008

This report presents major components of the Paso del Norte Watershed Council's Coordinated Water Resources Database and GIS Project developed from August of 2005 through July of 2007.

Effects of Salinity and Specific Ions on Seedling Emergence and Growth of Onions, S. Miyamoto, I. Martinez and G. Niu, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-319, 2008

It was hypothesized that the disposal of nanofiltration concentrate to irrigation water may not be deleterious, especially for growing crops sensitive to specific effects of Na and/or Cl. This study examined the above hypothesis by observing the effect of salinity and ion composition of irrigation water on seedling emergence, survival and growth of onions.

Bacterial Monitoring for the Buck Creek Watershed, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-318, 2008

Results from this study indicate that elevated E. coli levels periodically exist in Buck Creek. Implementing proper management measures in the watershed will aid in decreasing the impacts of E. coli on the creek.

Salt Tolerance of Landscape Plants Common to the Southwest, S. Miyamoto, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-316, 2008

This publication provides the information related to salt effects on growth and leaf injury of various landscaping plants common to the arid areas of the Southwest. The information presented would be useful to landscape planners, managers, and horticulturists.

Hydrology, Salinity, and Salinity Control Possibilities of the Middle Pecos River: A Reconnaissance Report, S. Miyamoto, S. Anand and W. Hatler, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-315, 2008

This report outlines the hydrology, geochemistry, and water management practices of the Middle Pecos River in order to explain the reasons for the high salinity, and to discuss the potential for salinity control.

Potential Impacts of Desalination Concentrate on Salinity of Irrigation Water: A Case Study in the El Paso Valley, S. Miyamoto, Texas Water Resources Institute Report TR-314, 2008

This study examined the potential impact of concentrate discharge on salinity, sodicity, and ionic composition of irrigation water supply, using historical or published records.

Texas Legislative and Irrigation Districts of the Rio Grande River Basin: A Map Series, E. Leigh and G. Fipps, Texas Water Resources Institute Educational Material EM-102, 2008

The series consists of 9 maps showing the boundaries of legislative districts and 32 water districts that deliver irrigation water. County boundaries are also shown.

Questions about Groundwater Conservation Districts in Texas, B.L. Lesikar and V. Silvy, Texas AgriLife Extension Service publication B-1620 (reprint)

Groundwater Conservation Districts 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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