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Center for Water and the Environment Adds Research Focus - New NSF Grant Will Allow Focus on Wastewater for Agriculture

September 24, 2015

Two faculty members from the University of New Mexico School of Engineering will lead research activities for a new National Science Foundation Grant.  Assistant Professor Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon and Associate Professor Andrew Schuler, both in the UNM Department of Civil Engineering, will lead the research on wastewater recycling for agriculture in arid regions. The research will explore how to expand the supply of water to agriculture through wastewater recycling and improved management decisions between wastewater treatment plants and water conservancy districts in arid regions.

ricardo gonzalez pinzon

Ricardo Gonzalez-Pinzon

“In developing this research area we are heeding calls to help resolve the growing competition between the demands of freshwater resources for urban and agricultural uses, particularly in arid and semi-arid, densely populated regions," Gonzalez–Pinzon said. "Our research seeks to provide scientific knowledge to support the transformation of traditionally ‘linear’ societies (which treat intake water, use it, and then treat the wastewater and disposed of it directly in rivers), into ‘recycling’ societies capable of making productive gains in water use and reuse while minimizing environmental pollution.”

andrew schuler

“Food, energy and water are linked in a nexus with complex synergies and tradeoffs,” said Schuler. “Scientists and engineers need to provide holistic solutions that address these complex interactions in order to conserve energy and water while guaranteeing water quality for downstream users.”

The new $298,449 grant will leverage an existing five million dollar grant from the NSF Centers for Research Excellence in Science and Technology (CREAT) program led by Kerry Howe. The Center for Water and the Environment is already conducting research in water and energy areas.

Andrew Schuler

Additional UNM faculty members involved in the project are Research Assistant Professor David Van Horn, Department of Biology, and Assistant Professor Jose Cerrato, Department of Civil Engineering.  

Follow the research at Center for Water and the Environment.