The I-WEST seminar series hosts thought leaders on a spectrum of topics tied to transitioning the Intermountain West to carbon neutrality, including technologies, policy, workforce, and environmental justice.
Water and energy are interdependent—energy supply depends on water and water supply depends on energy. This relationship intensifies when water is scarce and energy demand is on the rise, which is why water is often at the forefront of the dialogue on energy transition in the Intermountain West. Still, for some communities, the topic of water takes on a deeper meaning. This seminar will highlight the urgent need for access to clean and safe water resources on the Navajo Nation—the largest Native American tribe in the U.S., with a land base of 27,000 square miles that extends into the states of Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah. Today, approximately 30 percent of Navajo residents do not have access to clean running water.
Solutions to water infrastructure that can address this gap are complicated in the arid Southwest where groundwater quality is poor due to high salinity, microbial contaminants, or metal contaminants. Tune in to this seminar to learn how a team of students and faculty from Navajo Technical University and New Mexico Tech are addressing these challenges through the Navajo Nation Water Purification Project (N4WPP). The project endeavors to install water filtration units on the Navajo Nation and use the installation sites to train students on how to test water quality and maintain the units to provide sustainable long-term water resources suitable for agriculture and livestock, cleaning, and eventually clean drinking water.
Dr. Abhishek RoyChowdhury is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science & Natural Resources at Navajo Technical University. Dr. RoyChowdhury’s research expertise lies in the field of environmental clean-up with special emphasis on abandoned mine site remediation, water and wastewater treatment, and development of environmental-friendly “green” approaches for treatment of heavy metals from contaminated soil and water. Dr. RoyChowdhury received over $5M in grants from several federal and non-federal sources since 2020. He is the elected Secretary/Treasurer of the Geology and Health Division of Geological Society of America. He is also serving as an Associate Editor of IJEST, and as an Academic Editor of PLOS Water. Dr. RoyChowdhury is the recipient of multiple recognition including USDA 2023 Terra Preta do Indio Science Fellow, ASRS 2022 Early Career Award, AAEES 2022 40Under40 Rising Star Award, and ABF 2022 40Under40 Award for the State of New Mexico, among others.