Middle Rio Grande Water Advocates (formerly the Water Assembly)

 

The Water Award

 

Example Science Fair Projects

Drawn from the Middle Rio Grande Regional Water Plan

The following list is based upon the set of recommendations in the Regional Water Plan.  We carefully do not intend the list to be limiting or complete.  Rather, we believe the list should be used as a stimulus for students to think and invent their own approaches to water-oriented issues/topics. 

1.         Do un-metered water users take more (or less) conservation steps than do metered water users?

2.         Do high or stepped water prices drive people to take conservation measures?

3.         Does drought influence people’s conservation actions?

4.         Most people don’t know about available conservation rebate programs?

5.         Which yard plants require more water – per plant, or per square foot of ground?

6.         How much lawn can be supported by rooftop harvesting of water?

7.         How quickly can initial costs be recovered for switching to low flow appliances?

8.         How can you decide when you’re watering too much?

9.         Raising more plants with less water – what are the best ways?

10.       How much water in the house can be used more than once?  What are the ways?

11.       Which sporting activities use the most water per person served (football, hiking, golf, skiing, etc.)?

12.       What affects how fast water evaporates – plain, salty, open water, cloth covered, soaked soil, in shade, algae laden, with floating objects, temperature, relative humidity, etc.? 

13.       How can photo reconnaissance images distinguish among kinds of land use, trees, alfalfa, grass, tumbleweeds, etc.  Which photo set is more accurate?

14.       How fast can water flow in an aquifer?  What affects the rate – kind of substance, slope, pressures?

15.       Why how do river/stream flows fluctuate – in both time and in distance along the river/stream.

16.       Which water saving techniques are most effective relative to their cost.

17.       How does actual water use compare with allowed water use?

18.       How consistent are various available sources of data about water and water use?  If inconsistent, what assumptions or methods can cause the inconsistency?  How do results vary according to assumptions?

19.       How does the nature of forestation affect snow cover, runoff, and aquifer recharge?

20.       What techniques (laws, publicity, weather, etc.) have the most effect on residential uses of water?

21.       How much fluctuation is there in water supply, and/or how can we best take advantage of it (storms, seasons, years, decades)?

22.       How consistent are our rules and policies about water use from one place to another? 

23.       Can a town government’s income (taxes) and outgo (spending budgets) be compared to the town’s water income and outgo?  How do bank accounts and reservoirs relate to the income/outgo?

24.       How does water use relate to the way land is used (farming, parks, industrial, apartments, retail, suburbs, ranching, wilderness, bosque, etc.)?

25.       What does it cost to measure various water uses (utilities’, residence, lawns, farms, businesses, etc.)?

26.       How much water is lost in transit (urban utilities, river flow, main ditches, on-farm ditches, etc.)?  

27.       How much watering to plants need?  How to we know when we have provided too much?

28.       Which watering methods are most efficient, and for which crops or plants?  What are the obstacles?

29.       How far do which crop products travel to market?  How does this affect prices or costs?

30.       What patterns of channels or ditches are most efficient in delivering acequia water to a collection of fields? What field shapes or geometries would be optimal?

31.       What impurities (quantity, type) are found in outflows from septic tanks?  How does this relate to outflows from sewage treatment plants?

32.       How does natural impurity content of water relate to human caused impurities, from place to place, from time to time?  How does impurity acceptability relate to the intended uses of water? 

33.       How precise and how accurate are impurity measurement techniques?  How do these relate to costs?

34.       Where does our water come from?  How can/should we ensure that it stays of adequate quality?

35.       How do various riparian or bosque “restoration” actions affect the water use in a natural area? 

36.       What is the water cost of various forms of species habitat (wetlands, grassland, cottonwood, salt cedar, etc.).   

37.       What is the “natural” state of New Mexico’s riparian areas?  What would be the costs,, benefits, and side effects of restoring the areas to that state?

38.       How do water evaporation rates vary for locations across New Mexico (latitude, altitude, ground cover, time of year, etc.)?

39.       What happens to or in the space left behind when we pump water out of the ground?  How can we make good use of that space?

40.       What actions can help us deal with the annual fluctuations of rainfall?  Can we save water from wet years for use in dry years?  What quantities would we need to handle?

41.       Can we use a computer to describe the effects on water flow downstream in response to inflows and uses upstream?

42.       How can we remove salts from water?  What are the energy costs of each method? What are the dollar costs?

43.       What are the costs of piping water for long distances?  How does this compare with the costs of piping petroleum products?  How does it compare with irrigation and residential water billing?      

 

 

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