WRITER: Catherine Ortega Klett, (575) 646-4337, coklett@nmsu.edu

The public is invited to attend the New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute's 62nd Annual New Mexico Water Conference, "Hidden Realities of New Water Opportunities." An informative program is scheduled, and several special events are planned.

The day-and-a-half conference will take place Aug. 15-16 at the Macey Center on the New Mexico Tech campus. This is the first time the annual water conference will be held at New Mexico Tech, and New Mexico Tech President Stephen G. Wells will give the first talk of the conference, "The Landscape of Water – Past, Present and Future."

Following Wells, U.S. Sen. Tom Udall will update participants on federal efforts related to water, including action on the federal Drought Bill. Sen. Udall will also moderate a panel of representatives from various water sectors in New Mexico that includes Myron Armijo, Beth Bardwell, Terry Brunner, John Fleck, Paula Garcia and Tanya Trujillo. Speaker and panelist biographical sketches are available on the conference website.

Also scheduled for the morning session is State Engineer Tom Blaine, who will provide an update on state water issues. William Alley will give Tuesday's luncheon address. He was chief of the Office of Groundwater for the U.S. Geological Survey for almost two decades and is currently the director of science and technology for the National Ground Water Association. Alley's presentation is, "Meeting the Challenges of the World's Dependence on Groundwater."

Several panel discussions will feature experienced water specialists addressing questions about farmland retirement, innovations in watershed management, underground storage and recovery projects, use of brackish and impaired waters in New Mexico and the Rio Grande Compact. The Wednesday luncheon will feature an update on the NM WRRI's major water initiative, the Statewide Water Assessment.

Conference attendees are encouraged to take part in one of two optional field trips scheduled for Monday, Aug. 14. Hosted by the Bureau of Reclamation, one trip is to the river restoration project in the San Acacia Reach. Hosted by the Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources, Aquifer Mapping Program, the other trip is to the San Agustin Plains.

Everyone attending the conference is invited to a reception from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, Aug. 14, in the atrium at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources. The Mineral Museum and gift shop will be open, and participants can enjoy appetizers, a cash bar and talking with friends and colleagues.

A highlight of the annual water conference is the poster session, which this year includes over 48 posters, most by university students from across the state. The 90-minute session on Wednesday morning allows students, faculty, agency staff and private entities to network with colleagues from throughout the state and region, providing opportunities for collaboration.

For more information, please visit the conference website at https://nmwaterconference.nmwrri.nmsu.edu/2017/.

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