WIU environmental science students work to eliminate water scarcity

WIU environmental science students work to eliminate water scarcity

November 7, 2022

MACOMB/MOLINE, IL — Environmental scientists at Western Illinois University worked to help stakeholders better understand new proposals to divert the Mississippi River to supplement the lower river basin’s water supply Colorado.

“As water levels continue to decline in the Colorado River and Mississippi River basins, I suspect this question will continue to be of interest to people across the country,” said WIU Environmental Science: large river ecosystems Director Roger Viadero.

This project began in August after Viadero learned that the Arizona legislature had allocated $1 billion to increase the water supply to the lower Colorado River Basin, including the Mississippi River, as a source of water. It was clear to Viadero that the public debate on the issue lacked important information.

“I thought it would be beneficial for my students to look into this question and work on ways to communicate their findings to a wider audience,” Viadero said. “Since October, students have presented their research at the Upper Mississippi River Conference and are working on a peer-reviewed publication.”

Two environmental science doctoral students from WIU, Dave Thomas and Sam Babatunde, participated in the Upper Mississippi River Conference with Viadero.

“The conference, which focused on climate change, was informative and timely, especially given the current drought conditions the Mississippi River Basin is experiencing,” Thomas said. “Various presenters validated a major aspect of our work, namely the flow conditions of the Mississippi River. They reinforced the need to pay close attention to the negative implications of climate change such as the current low water levels of the Mississippi River. , the regions with the least predictable rainfall patterns and the economic, environmental, agricultural, societal and ecological consequences that result from these adverse hydrological conditions”.

In addition to the steps required for research, Viadero is honored by the motivation and individual skills that each student brings to the project.

“When combined with the ability to work from anywhere, our workflow has become much more streamlined,” Viadero said. “I hope our work helps people better understand the limitations of proposals that aren’t likely to meet Western water needs quickly and economically. Then we can focus on more practical steps to meet the immediate water needs of both the Colorado and Mississippi basins while working to develop a combination of efforts to meet longer-term water needs.Since access to an abundant water supply has a direct impact on our ability to grow food and provide electricity, this issue is only expected to grow in importance.”

For more information about WIU’s Environmental Science program, visit wiu.edu/graduate_studies/programs_of_study/environsci_profile.php. To read the full research proposal, visit bit.ly/3t4IkqM.

Posted by: Lexi Yoggerst ([email protected])
University Communications and Marketing Office

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