Denise Fort Co-authors Book on Underground Water Storage

Professor Denise FortUNM Law Professor Denise Fort is a co-author of Prospects for Managed Underground Storage of Recoverable Water, a book recently released by the National Research Council of the National Academies.

Fort, who has expertise in water quality, groundwater and water resources, was asked to join the panel of experts that prepared the book. She collaborated on a chapter that looked at legal and economic questions of how different jurisdictions determine whether a project to store underground water is viable.

The book evaluates issues involved with storing water in groundwater aquifers for the purpose of later recovery. The stored water is often water that has been used, such as treated sewage effluent, which raises additional questions about treatment before storage and after withdrawal. Research priorities for development of future underground storage projects also are identified in the book.

"Periodic droughts, changing land use, rising temperatures, over-allocation of rivers, over-drafting of aquifers (underground water reserves), water quality changes, and environmental problems, combined with rapidly increasing populations, have heightened awareness of the pressing need to find sustainable, long-term water management solutions," according to a report issued by the National Academies.

The book was compiled over two years by a broad-based panel of experts and was released after undergoing peer review. It was written for an audience of water policy makers and managers to help address concerns about the technology of recapturing water and jurisdictions.

"Groundwater storage is especially attractive in New Mexico because our reservoirs lose so much water to evaporation," says Fort. "This is also of interest to jurisdictions for which recycling could be cheaper than finding new water supplies."

Prospects for Managed Underground Storage of Recoverable Water can be purchased through the National Academies Press website at nap.edu.