Water Resources Field Methods Reports



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The Rio Casas Grandes watershed is located in northern Chihuahua, Mexico, on the eastern flank of the Sierra Madres. Like all arid desert regions, this watershed faces problems related to a lack of fresh water. Increasing populations, agriculture, and industry create a challenge to water managers and users in the watershed. Water shortages from drought combined with increased use have caused decreases in water tables as well as increases in the number of fallow fields in the lower reaches of the watershed. Poor land management practices combined with water shortages have the potential to threaten the livelihood of communities within this watershed. Students in the University of New Mexico's (UNM) Water Resources Program (WRP) field course studied the greater Rio Casas Grandes watershed with a focus on the Rio Piedras Verdes sub-watershed. This course was designed for students to apply their knowledge and understanding of water resource issues to the water issues in the greater Rio Casas Grandes watershed. Due to the lack of quantitative data in the area, various types of quantitative field methods were performed to create a baseline of riparian health, water quality, and hydrology data. Interviews were conducted with professionals, academics, and farmers to provide first hand perspectives of the history, land use, and resource management within the Rio Casas Grandes watershed. The primary objectives for this course were to identify the water resource challenges in the Rio Casas Grandes watershed through both quantitative and qualitative assessments. Historical water use patterns, political, and cultural constraints were identified, along with the quantitative information needed to improve water management. Water quality of the region was assessed and water management practices of the Rio Casas Grandes watershed were compared with those of New Mexico.



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Stream health--Mexico--Rio Casas Grandes., Water quality--Mexico--Rio Casas Grandes Watershed., Watershed hydrology--Mexico--Rio Cases Grandes Watershed., Water resources development--Mexico--Rio Casas Grandes Watershed.


Water Resources Program WR573 Field Methods course, University of New Mexico. Report by WR573 students.

Water resources assessment in the greater Rio Casas Grandes Watershed