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UNM center creates online learning resource about water issues

September 1, 2020 - by Kim Delker

The Southwest Environmental Finance Center (SW EFC), which is part of the Center for Water and the Environment at The University of New Mexico, has created the Environment-Focused Learning Academy (EFLA) to present non-partisan, fact-based, educational information about water resources and related issues to community members and elected leaders.

EFLA is a resource to hear from experts in the field on many topics related to water, wastewater, and stormwater.

Heather Himmelberger, director of the Southwest Environmental Finance Center, said that the site’s ultimate goal is the increase public understanding of water issues.

“Clean, safe water is vital to the health of all communities, especially rural and tribal communities,” she said. “In order to more effectively engage in policy decisions and advocacy, it is important that citizens understand such basic water issues as quality, quantity, and public health.”

With a recently awarded grant, the SW EFC is working with three other UNM departments to develop videos, podcasts, and digital learning modules focused on water issues. The EFLA is made possible in part by UNM Grand Challenges pilot research funding.

Among the podcasts and videos currently available are:

  • Heather Himmelberger: EFLA and the importance of the water profession to public health during a pandemic
  • John Stomp of the Albuquerque Bernalillo County Water Utility Authority: Water operators as essential workers during COVID-19
  • Interview with water personnel at the Buckman Direct Diversion Facility in Santa Fe

The site also features frequent blog issues about various topics, including those written by students discussing the UNM Grand Challenges research and Himmelberger on the inspiration to create EFLA.

The Center for Water and the Environment is a research center based in the Department of Civil, Construction and Environmental Engineering in the School of Engineering.

sacred water artwork