Program: RESESS Socorro
Major: Environmental Science and Policy
Academic Affiliation: University of South Florida
Natalie Restrepo is a rising senior at the University of South Florida pursing a major in Environmental Science and Policy with a minor in Urban planning. Her passions include Mapping of the land, Earth sciences, and regional planning. This summer in the RESESS program she will be working with the Aquifer Mapping Program Manager, Laila Sturgis, at New Mexico Tech to locate ground water around New Mexico and digitize it into a map that can be accessible to the public. After this internship she hopes to continue her education and pursue a master’s degree in GIS.
In New Mexico the Middle Rio Grande Basin runs through the middle of the state and provides drinking and agricultural water to thousands of people. Though this aquifer is a crucial resource for New Mexico residents, little is known about it. Knowing the depth to water throughout the aquifer enables more accurate assessments of groundwater hydrology in the area to be completed for current and future water use projects. To evaluate the depth to water in different areas of the aquifer, we compiled recorded depths to water from over 2000 well logs obtained from the New Mexico State Engineer website. In addition, groundwater observations over time were analyzed from United States Geological Survey datasets. This data was organized in a spreadsheet and imported into ArcGIS to analyze spatially. Since most of this data is decades old, we created hydrographs in order to see the trends in water level over time and confirm the accuracy of the data itself. The resulting depth to water contour map shows significant variability in depth to water, ranging from 1 foot to 400+ feet. The data will ultimately be imported into Google Earth, a more accessible platform, for public use. The data therefore provides not only developers, but also members of the geoscience community with more information about water resources in this area.