Feb. 19 program to focus on managing drought in the middle Rio Grande Basin

An educational program called “Managing Under Drought: Water Management Information for Growers in the Middle Rio Grande” will be offered Feb. 19 in El Paso.

The program is free and will be from 8:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Texas A&M AgriLife Research Center in El Paso, 1380 A&M Circle.

The Texas Water Resources Institute, Texas A&M AgriLife Research, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and the Center for Environmental Resource Management at the University of Texas at El Paso will host the program.

Dr. Askarali Karimov of Texas A&M University’s Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, said speakers will present research results of two Rio Grande-related projects. The projects address salinity, alternative crops, marketing and economics, and the impact of drought on future water availability in the middle section of the basin.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) project, “Diversifying the Water Portfolio for Agriculture in the Rio Grande Basin,” is led by TWRI director Dr. John Tracy. The USDA-funded project, “Sustainable water resources for irrigated agriculture in a desert river basin facing drought and competing demands,” is led by Dr. Bill Hargrove, director of the University of Texas at El Paso Center for Environmental Resource Management.

Program topics and speakers will be:

  • Salinity issues on the Rio Grande, Dr. Zhuping Sheng, professor and resident director, El Paso center 
  • Salinity modeling, Dr. Suarav Kumar, research assistant professor, University of Texas at El Paso
  • Salt tolerant, alternative crops, Dr. Girisha Ganjegunte, associate professor, El Paso center
  • Marketing and economics on salinity, salt tolerant and alternative crops, Dr. Samuel Zapata, AgriLife Extension specialist, Weslaco, and Dr. Gregory Torell, assistant professor, El Paso center.
  • Drought and climate projection modeling results for the Rio Grande, Dr. Caiti Steele, USDA Agricultural Research Service Climate Hub, Las Cruces, New Mexico

Jesus Reyes, El Paso County Water Improvement District No.1 general manager, will give district updates during a catered lunch.

Orlando Flores, AgriLife Extension agriculture and natural resources agent in El Paso County, will conclude the program with Extension program updates.

For more information, contact Karimov at 979-412-9919 or Flores at 915-771-2354.

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