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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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NMSU hosts water resources technician training for Native Americans

Thirteen Native Americans selected from across the nation are participating in the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) Water Resources Technicians Training Program June 4-30 conducted by the Department of Civil Engineering at New Mexico State University.

Topics addressed during the program include fluid mechanics, groundwater and surface water hydrology, irrigation practices and management, watershed monitoring and management, environmental statutes, wastewater and drinking water treatment, water rights and land surveying. The goal of the program is for participants to use the skills learned to gain employment in the field of water resources, as well as allow their tribes to become more self-sufficient and grow economically.

"The greatest benefits participants will take from this experience are the development of entry-level technical job skills in water resources, critical thinking skills to solve problems and teamwork," said Salim Bawazir, instructor and co-investigator for the program and assistant professor of civil engineering at NMSU. "The students this year are very good. They show interest in the topic and are eager to learn new technologies."

Students will visit the Leasburg Diversion Dam, Mesilla Dam, the Las Cruces Waste Treatment Plant and the Elephant Butte Irrigation District to get a better understanding of such topics as water conveyance, sewage systems, the importance of timely irrigation and the role of hydrology in surface mining and reclamation.

Several states and tribes are represented in the training program, including the Navajo Nation of New Mexico, the La Jolla Indian Reservation of California and the Te-Moak Tribe of Western Shoshone of Nevada.