NM Among States to Receive NSF Funding for Water Resources Modeling

New Mex­ico, Nevada and Idaho have received a new grant from the National Sci­ence Foun­da­tion to cre­ate a West­ern Con­sor­tium for Water­shed Analy­sis, Visu­al­iza­tion and Explo­ration (WC-WAVE) to advance water­shed sci­ence, work­force devel­op­ment and edu­ca­tion with cyber infra­struc­ture enabled dis­cov­ery and innovation.

NM Among States to Receive NSF Funding for Water Resources Modeling

The vir­tual water­shed frame­work will be tested with data from three well-instrumented water­sheds, one in each state. In New Mex­ico, data will be col­lected from the Jemez Water­shed in the Valles Caldera. Image cour­tesy Natalie Willoughby

The con­sor­tium will receive up to $6 mil­lion over a three year period in Research Infra­struc­ture Improve­ment Track-2 awards. The awards are part of NSF’s Exper­i­men­tal Pro­gram to Stim­u­late Com­pet­i­tive Research (EPSCoR).

The WC-WAVE grant will enable researchers to cre­ate bet­ter mod­els to under­stand the water resource processes at high ele­va­tions that bring water to communities. These sys­tems are affected by cli­mate change, which impacts the water stor­age, flow mod­er­a­tion and water qual­ity.  Inter­ac­tions among pre­cip­i­ta­tion, veg­e­ta­tion growth, fire, soil mois­ture, runoff and other land­scape prop­er­ties cre­ate sys­tems in which even sub­tle changes in cli­mate may lead to sig­nif­i­cant envi­ron­men­tal and eco­nomic impacts.

Prin­ci­pal Inves­ti­ga­tors on the grant are Gayle Dana, Nevada Sys­tem of Higher Edu­ca­tion; Peter Good­win, Uni­ver­sity of Idaho and William Mich­ener, Uni­ver­sity of New Mexico. The grant was one of four projects nation­ally to receive fund­ing to inform pol­icy mak­ing and address strate­gic regional issues.

“This NSF funded project will lead to new under­stand­ing of the inter­ac­tions of cli­mate, water, and humans that will be key to grow­ing the state’s econ­omy amidst the envi­ron­men­tal chal­lenges fac­ing New Mex­ico such as drought and fire,” said Michener. “The project is espe­cially excit­ing in that young and pro­duc­tive sci­en­tists, stu­dents and edu­ca­tors from through­out New Mex­ico, Idaho and Nevada will work col­lab­o­ra­tively to address the most press­ing chal­lenges that are com­mon to the south­west­ern United States.”

EPSCoR pro­motes sci­en­tific progress nation­wide by effect­ing last­ing improve­ments in a state’s research infra­struc­ture and research and devel­op­ment capac­ity to improve its aca­d­e­mic com­pet­i­tive­ness.  New Mex­ico EPSCoR is work­ing to improve the research, cyber­in­fra­struc­ture, and human resources required for New Mex­ico to achieve its energy, edu­ca­tion and work­force devel­op­ment potential.