Gwynne Ann Unruh is an award-winning reporter formerly of the Alamosa Valley Courier, an independent paper in southern Colorado. She covers the environment for The Paper.

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This year’s 67th Annual New Mexico Water Conference will be held in a hybrid format on October 26-27 at the Las Cruces Convention Center, adjacent to New Mexico State University, and online via Zoom. In order to draw as many New Mexicans as possible to the event, NM Water Resource Research Institute (NM WRRI) will be offering free conference registration for both in-person and virtual attendees.

The Water Conference Advisory Committee includes water experts from various entities around the state that meet annually to recommend a theme, topics, and speakers for the upcoming conference. This year’s Water Conference theme: Our Interconnected Communities—and Interconnected Waters.

The NM WRRI was established in 1963 to develop and disseminate knowledge to assist the state and nation in solving water problems. They have been hosting an annual water conference for over half a century. The two-day conference provides a public forum for the discussion of important and often critical state water issues. The Institute funds student and faculty research conducted to address water problems critical to New Mexico and the Southwest. NM WRRI also participates in joint efforts to solve water-related problems along the U.S./Mexico border.

A variety of topics will be discussed in sessions during the conference. A pre-conference field trip on Groundwater Monitoring and Stormwater Management in the Mesilla Valley, will be offered this year on October 25th from 8am to 12:30pm. Opening keynote remarks will be offered by U.S. Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury, NM-1, followed by an update from the Office of the State Engineer.

Presentations at the conference include: Distinguishing Surface Water and Groundwater in Water Budgets; Understanding, Enabling, and Envisioning Water Management Strategies Empowered through Research; Water in the Determining Decade: Groundwater and Ecosystems in Nevada; Connecting Diverse Communities, Water Resources, and Management Strategies; Collaboration Needs and Opportunities to Address the Challenges of Intense Floods; Agricultural and Managed Aquifer Recharge Projects; Water Conservation Programs for Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture; Modernizing Water Management at the PVACD: Water challenges and data from past to present.

There will be an update on the NM 50-Year Water Plan by Andrew Erdmann, NM Interstate Stream Commission Water Planning Program. In-person and online, Blane Sanchez, Second Lieutenant Governor, Pueblo of Isleta, will be Exploring Connections Between Indigenous Communities and Their Water Resources. Community Conversations for Future Water Resilience.

A Water Research Poster Session is offered In-person only. In person participants will have the opportunity to view technical research posters presented by faculty, students, agency staff, and others in the foyer of the Las Cruces Convention Center. They anticipate that over 30 posters to be displayed.

The Poster Session provides the opportunity to exchange information, showcase a wide variety of water projects, and update colleagues on water research being conducted around the state. The 75-minute session offered on Thursday, October 27 allows students, faculty, agency, staff, and private entities to network with colleagues from throughout the state and region, providing opportunities for collaboration.

Free conference registration is now open, and you can download a PDF version of the full program here.

The Paper. is a media sponsor of this event.