UOG WERI Wins National Impact Award


Guam – The University of Guam Water and Environmental Research Institute (WERI) was recently awarded the 2013 National Institutes for Water Resources (NIWR) National Impact Award.


WERI won for a project entitled “Comprehensive Analysis of Salinity Trends in the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer.”  Sponsored by NIWR and supervised by WERI scientists, hydrogeologist Dr. John Jenson and meteorologist Dr. Mark Lander, the project was developed and undertaken by UOG graduate student Ms. Christine Simard for her thesis research in UOG’s graduate Environmental Science program last year.   

[L-R: Catherine Simard, UOG Environmental Science Masters Graduate (center) discusses the NIWR National Impact Award-winning project with Dr. John Jenson, UOG Professor of Environmental Geology, WERI (left) and Dr. Shahram KhosrowPanah, UOG WERI Director ]

Following the completion of the project in May 2012, Ms. Simard’s thesis earned the first UOG Presidential Thesis Award, which was presented at the 2012 UOG Spring Commencement, last May.  Simard has been invited to deliver a presentation on the project at the Universities Council on Water Resources-NIWR Conference at Lake Tahoe this June, along with her advisor on the project, Dr. Jenson.

Dr. Jenson noted that “this project is the latest outcome of over nearly 40 years of aquifer research that has been conducted at WERI” and that its success is “indicative of the kind of talent that we’ve been blessed with by the graduate students in our program at UOG.”

“This National Impact Award will distinguish WERI and help maintain its position as one of the top water institutes in the nation,” said WERI Director Dr. Shahram Khosrowpanah.  “This recognition will also strengthen competitiveness for other sources of funding.”

The two-year study produced a comprehensive evaluation of salinity trends in the 153 production wells in the Northern Guam Lens Aquifer (NGLA), beginning with the earliest records dating back to 1973. The NGLA provides 80% of the potable water for the 186,000 residents of Guam.

According the NIWR website, “The annual NIWR Impact Awards recognize the nation’s best federal Water Resources Research Act funded research, education, and outreach projects, which brings attention to both the work that Water Resources Research Institutes sponsor and the outstanding faculty who contribute to our success.”

Now in its 38th year of operation, WERI is the water institute for Guam, Federated States of Micronesia and Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.  In a recent US Geological Survey evaluation, WERI was ranked in the top three (3) among all 54 similar institutes in the nation. “This award keeps WERI in the national spotlight,” said Simard.  “WERI’s contribution to Guam and the region is something we can all be proud of.”

For more information on UOG WERI and to view the project, visit www.weriguam.org.