2019 CLIMAS Environment and Society Fellows
Introducing the 2019 cohort of the CLIMAS Environment and Society Graduate Fellows
Alma Anides Morales
Alma’s project is in collaboration with Cochise Health and Social Services to sample and analyze the chronic untreated effluent flowing north into Naco, Arizona, a town of about 1,000 residents in the US-Mexico border. The sewage flows are a community concern as sewage flow is in close proximity to a school, private property, and eventually discharges into tributaries of the San Pedro River. The study will center on the determining potential environmental impacts and health risks for residents. Information produced will be used to help inform residents and assist CHSS in their preparedness and response to such events.
Norma Villagómez-Márquez has a background in Environmental Engineering investigating the role of advanced membrane technologies such as reverse osmosis (RO), nanofiltration (NF) and electrodialysis reversal (EDR) in water treatment, primarily desalination. As a member of the organic analysis team within Project Harvest: Be Informed-Grow Smarter, she is engaging community members through citizen science about the health of their harvested rainwater, soil, and plants. Norma’s doctoral research examines the presence of emerging contaminants in roof-harvested rainwater using analytical techniques, particularly liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry (LC-HRMS). As a 2019 Environment & Society Fellow Norma will create an illustrative children’s book that will spark interest in water conservation alternatives by addressing the global water crisis and the vital role rainwater harvesting will have when it comes to maximizing our existing water supply.
Nupur is an urban geographer interested in studying urbanization and development in African and Indian cities. Her doctoral dissertation is based in low-income settlements of Nairobi, Kenya. Through a mixed-methods approach, she is conducting a spatial analysis of informal water infrastructures (locally called ‘water cartels’) and their health implications on women. She conducts research with women community members, Nairobi County government officials, non-profit groups and cartels themselves, to understand water quality, affordability and accessibility issues.
Increasing variance in groundwater recharge conditions due to climate change and increasing demand for groundwater have residents and stakeholders with the Sonoita Creek Watershed in Southeastern Arizona concerned about future groundwater and surface water flow conditions. To address these concerns, a two-stage project is proposed. The first phase is an analysis of isotope ratios and the geochemistry of local springs to create a conceptual model of groundwater flow. These insights, coupled with available data and knowledge on the hydrology of the area will guide the second phase. The second phase is the creation of a monitoring plan that is within a local citizen science group’s resources, capabilities, and level of enthusiasm. The plan will expand the current efforts of the Citizen Science group to include monitoring of spring flow around Harshaw Creek; a tributary of Sonoita Creek, with its headwaters in the Patagonia Mountains, and other vulnerable tributaries. The data collected by the group will contribute to future hydrologic studies within the basin and aid in making management decisions around water use by the Town Council. In addition, the project will empower stakeholders and well owners to be vigilant about monitoring their water supply through documenting and monitoring the effects of varying precipitation and groundwater use on spring flow and the groundwater table.