tx H2O

txH2O Summer 2011

TWRI Briefs

14th International SWAT Conference in Spain draws large crowd

Group Photo The 2011 International SWAT Conference drew nearly 200 attendees from 37 countries. More than 130 oral and poster presentations were given on the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a river basin-scale computer model developed to quantify land management practices in large, complex watersheds.

The public domain model, jointly developed by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA-ARS) and The Texas A&M University System, is widely used in hydrology and water quality assessment.

SWAT is used to simulate the quality and quantity of surface water and groundwater and predict the environmental impact of different land management practices. SWAT is used in soil erosion prevention and control, nonpoint source pollution control, and regional management in watersheds.

The conference, held June 15-17 at the University of Castilla La Mancha in Toledo, Spain, was the 14th international SWAT conference. Included were presentations on SWAT developments, climate change applications, environmental applications, and new model developments. More than 65 attendees participated in three SWAT workshops before the conference.

“The worldwide SWAT users’ community has continued to contribute research and help improve the SWAT model through applications and issues resulting from those applications,” said Dr. José María Bodoque del Pozo, environmental science faculty member at the University of Castilla La Mancha, in his welcoming address.

Dr. Raghavan Srinivasan, director of Texas AgriLife Research and Texas A&M University’s Spatial Sciences Laboratory and member of the SWAT development team, said, “I strongly believe that these conference gatherings will continue to serve as a positive opportunity for our international research community to share the latest innovations developed for SWAT.”

SWAT developer, Dr. Jeffrey Arnold, an agricultural engineer at the USDA-ARS Grassland Soil and Water Research Laboratory in Temple, said these conferences also offer networking experiences for fellow scientists and students around the globe. “It’s a chance for SWAT users to meet and exchange research and seek advice on model issues,” he said.

Conference participant Christine Kuendig, a doctorate student at Eawag, Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology in Switzerland, is using SWAT to research the impact of the relationship between sub-basin scale and climate stations resolution in the Rhine River Basin in Western Europe.

“Some presentations and subsequent discussions at the conference provided helpful insights, which I can relate to my own research, namely the importance of the representation of climate data on smaller scales in contrast to my large– scale study area,” she said.

Natalia Uribe Rivera, a hydrologic modeler at the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Colombia, said this was her second international SWAT conference and she appreciated the increased number of attendees from South America.

“The conference was excellent, and I met participants from my continent and communicated in regards to current SWAT applications in South America,” Rivera said.

Conference presentations, photos, video, and more information can be found on the conference website.

Rainwater Harvesting Task Force Team

Rainwater Harvesting Task Force Team The Rainwater Harvesting Task Force Team comprised of Justin K. Mechell, Billy A. Kniffen, and Dorothy Woodson, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering; Jim C. Cathey, Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences; Monty C. Dozier, regional program director for Agriculture and Natural Resources; and John W. Smith, Department of Soil and Crop Sciences, won the 2010 Vice Chancellor’s Award in Excellence in the Extension Education and Service team category. Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean for Agriculture and Life Sciences, presented the award to (left to right) Dozier (also accepting the award on behalf of Kniffen), Mechell (also accepting the award on behalf of Cathey), Woodson and Smith. Photo by Chandler Arden, Chandler Arden Photography.

Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership

Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership The Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership was a finalist in the 2011 Texas Environmental Excellence Award in the pollution prevention category. Presented annually by the Governor of Texas and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) commissioners, the Texas Environmental Excellence Awards spotlight the state’s highest achievements in environmental preservation and protection. Allen Berthold, Texas Water Resources Institute project manager, and Jaime Flores, Arroyo Colorado Watershed Partnership watershed coordinator, represented the partnership at the awards banquet in May. Shown left to right are: TCEQ Commissioner Buddy Garcia, Chairman Bryan Shaw, Berthold, Flores, and Commissioner Carlos Rubinstein. Photo courtesy of TCEQ.

BST conference set for February 2012

The Texas Water Resources Institute, the Texas State Soil and Water Conservation Board, and Texas AgriLife Research are hosting the 2012 Bacterial Source Tracking—State of the Science Conference Feb. 28–29, 2012, at the T Bar M Resort and Conference Center in New Braunfels.

Speakers at this one-and-a-half-day conference will discuss bacterial source tracking (BST) and its application regarding current practices, scientific advances, and improvements in application.

Nonpoint sources (NPS) of pollution greatly affect water quality, with bacteria being a serious concern. Identifying and assessing sources of fecal pollution are vital in effectively implementing a NPS pollution management program. BST helps identify the source of bacterial pollution.

For more information on the conference, visit the project website.

New issue of water journal available online

New issue of water journal The newest issue of the Texas Water Journal (TWJ) is available online. More articles will be added to the issue in the coming months. TWJ is an online, peer-reviewed journal devoted to Texas water resources management and policy issues from a multidisciplinary perspective that integrates science, engineering, law, planning, and other disciplines. The new issue will also include summaries of recent key state legislation related to water.

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