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Along with keeping up with his law-school studies this year, Anthony Edwards ('10) has been providing valuable research for Professor Denise Fort in her role as the only lawyer on the National Research Council's Committee on Water Reuse.
Specifically, he has been looking at water quality and quantity, two areas that interest him most in his study of water law. Water quality issues have included comparing state standards around the country for reusing gray water in car washes, lawns and golf courses. He also has examined states' requirements for aquifer discharge.
More recently, he has been looking at how states monitor their water recharge policies and how those policies are impacting other water users.
"Water quality and quantity are moving to the forefront of the water regulatory structure and it's been great to see what people in the field are dealing with," he says. "With demands continually growing on our water supplies, water reuse, recycling, aquifer recharge and underground storage will be the next frontier of water development in the United States."
Fort joins a cadre of leading scientists from across the country on the committee, providing a legal perspective on the issues of water reclamation and reuse of municipal wastewater. She asked Edwards to serve as her research assistant after he enrolled in environmental and natural resources classes as a master's student in water resources on UNM's main campus, before he was even admitted to law school.
"It’s hard to believe, but reclaimed wastewater is becoming a highly priced source of water in some regions of the country, because it is more reliable than water from overstressed rivers and aquifers," says Fort. "Citizens need to know that it is safe, and that is where the objective review of the NRC is especially important."
The committee expects to publish its findings a year from now. The National Research Council is the research arm of the National Academy of Sciences, which brings together committees of experts across the country to address critical national issues and provide advice to the government and public. The study is sponsored by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Edwards also has worked with the Utton Transboundary Resources Center's ombudsman program, assisting pro se claimants on water adjudications.