TEES and Texas A&M-San Antonio collaborate to develop water resources science program

May 2, 2016
| By: Stephanie Jones

Securing sustainable supplies of fresh water for the state’s growing economy and population is one of the greatest challenges facing Texans in the 21st century.  To meet that challenge, Texas A&M University-San Antonio, with support from the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), is developing a water resources science program. 

Last November, A&M-San Antonio was given approval by The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents to establish the Institute for Water Resources Science and Technology to initiate the development of research initiatives in water, and water education and science degree programs.  This work at A&M-San Antonio is comprised of three components: service, education, and research.

With the assistance of TEES and endorsement of local water leaders, the university is developing three degree tracks in water resources science and technology: a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences, a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science.

“Texas A&M-San Antonio’s new water institute and degree programs will support the scientific, technological, outreach and educational needs to solve emerging water resources issues,” said Dr. Rudolph Rosen, director of the Institute for Water Resources Science and Technology.  “Our goal is to complete the groundwork for the degree programs and cooperative research to prepare graduates who are fully ready to work within and contribute to Texas’ blue infrastructure.”

The programs will focus on preparing the students to enter basic water treatment and related industry positions while the graduate program will ready students for more advanced positions in water resource management.  Internship opportunities may be available through the Southwest Research Institute, the San Antonio River Authority and other local utilities and corporations.  In addition to new entrants to the workforce, the degree programs will appeal to current employees in the water industries workforce who may need a university degree to move ahead in their current positions.  Training will also be available to students and workforce members through possible collaborations with the H.B. Zachry Training Center, TEES, TEEX and Northwest Vista College.

Along with helping in the development of the degree programs, TEES has also been a source of guidance in determining which research areas the institute will focus on.  The needs of the institute’s potential partners will ultimately determine the specific areas of investigation that will be explored.  Until then, the institute will focus on finding feasible solutions for water availability and distribution across urban and rural San Antonio, and the beneficial use, reuse and recycling of wastewater, runoff and brackish water (a mix of salt and fresh water). 

“Being able to successfully secure sustainable supplies of water for the state will require four major steps: developing integrated water-energy-land use models for sustainable development; making advances in water treatment, storage and distribution; creating the future workforce for managing water supplies; and helping reuse, recycle and reduce use of water,” said Rosen.

A&M San Antonio was formally established as a regional division of TEES through a memorandum of agreement executed in 2015. Addressing the critical water needs of the state is one of the focus areas for this collaboration.

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