View of Rio Grande. Courtesy/NM Dept. of Cultural Affairs
ALBUQUERQUE ― The New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science (NMMNHS) has joined the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources in a statewide collaborative groundwater monitoring network. The Museum will host one of the many monitoring locations for the project and serve as an important educational outlet.
Water shortages have been commonplace in communities across New Mexico over the past several years and the state lacks sufficient groundwater level measurements for many regions. In an effort to protect the groundwater resource, this new community-oriented program aims to reach out specifically to farmers, ranchers and well owners, as well as municipalities to share data and information.
The Our Groundwater Future project will be launched at 10:30 a.m. Monday, April 26, at the NMMNHS’s Kiwanis Learning Garden. The project goal is to work with well owners and operators in rural communities to inform and train them on groundwater measurements. The Learning Garden is located across 18th Street from the museum’s main entrance. A monitoring well for the project will be drilled April 10.
“The problem is currently in the state, we have no way to map or track how much groundwater is in the aquifer, nor are we able to assess the health of the aquifer,” explained NMMNHS director, Margie Marino. “There is terrific value in establishing a professional community specifically to share knowledge about water resources, particularly here in the Southwest where it is such a precious commodity. Using real-time data measurements of groundwater in can and already has proved useful for tracking the size and health of dynamic aquifers.”
In addition to the NMMNHS, other partners in this coalition forged by the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources include: Aquifer Mapping Program; New Mexico Tech; Wellntel; Kiwanis International; and Rogers & Company, Inc.
Participation in the program is free thanks to a generous donation from the Healy Foundation, in collaboration with the Aquifer Mapping Program at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral, a research division of New Mexico Tech.
NMMNHS is working with the collaboration to establish the outreach location at the museum’s Kiwanis Learning Garden. The outreach is geared to help New Mexicans understand more about groundwater across the state, how it relates to geology, and why we need to protect it.