US-Mexico Border (UMB) Water & Environmental Sustainability Training

Hola amigos!

The first week of the UMB-WEST program is underway. If you didn’t get a chance to read about the project, there is a great synopsis in the June edition of SESE’s newletter, SESE Source.  However, I will quickly detail the project here and what we’ve been up to this week.

The Water & Environmental Sustainability Training (WEST) program explores the the US-Mexico Border (UMB) regions of Arizona and Sonora.  The WEST program seeks to establish water sustainability in the UMB region by conducting hydrologic field experiments, interacting with water resource managers and observing new infrastructure projects. Since 2004, participants from universities in the United States and Sonora, Mexico have collaborated to expose water problems in the UMB region.

The current 2012 program began on July 23rd and will run until August 17th. A two week campaign in Sonora, Mexico will allow faculty members and students from ASU to observe current infrastructure projects underway in the city of Hermosillo and perform several field experiments in the surrounding basins.

During the first week, graduate and undergraduate students have entered a series of workshops conducted by Dr. Enrique Vivoni, Dr. Agustin Robles, Danny Che and Luis A. Mendez-Barroso. The week is preparation for the two week campaign and time is split between a computer and research lab. In the computer lab, students learn hydrologic modeling and create maps of prospective sites using HEC-HMS and GIS tools. In the research lab, students manually assemble and calibrate rain gauges and soil moisture probes, and also familiarize themselves with dGPS, theta probes, temperature sensors, and the COsmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System (COSMOS). The field manual for the trip is also largely written by the participants.

The students partaking in the program are from various disciplines, including conservation biology, engineering, geology and sustainability. The program is also multi-cultural and participants are immersed in the Spanish language, where they gain valuable insight to international politics and scientific collaboration.

For more information on the hydrology program at Arizona State, check out the webpage.


Until next post,

Sarah Cronk
SESE Geological Sciences Undergraduate
Barrett Honors College