(Digital Photography – Amateur)
Omar L. Martinez has held various roles in the public sector, having worked in research, economic and community development, water infrastructure planning and development, housing, public health, and education. He has also led several civic and social engagement projects in Far West Texas, Southern New Mexico, and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. His hobbies include playing videogames with his son, teaching his daughter piano, and cooking for his wife.
Water Conservation Requires Data illustrates the most essential component of water conservation planning: data collection. The aerial photo shows how an in-situ pond is filled using shallow groundwater well. Pressure transducers are being used to measure the drop in water level over time to the nearest ten‐thousandth of a millimeter. Based on these findings, the U.S. federal government awarded more than $3 million (to date) to construct water conservation improvements at the Riverside Canal in El Paso, Texas.
Water Conservation is Hard Work illustrates the gritty side of water conservation implementation. The photo shows construction crews pouring shotcrete on a check structure at the Riverside Canal in San Elizario, Texas, adjacent to the U.S.-Mexico Border Fence. The project resulted in quantifiable water savings, improved water delivery efficiency to farmers, and reduced risk from flood events at the Rio Grande. The engineering design of this project was funded by the Texas Water Development Board (TWDB), which described the project as “a great example of cooperate efforts between local, state, and federal agencies to enhance border security, support U.S. Agricultural production, and improve vital water conveyance infrastructure.”
Water Conservation Bears Fruit illustrates how water conservation implementation can have a positive impact on natural environments, human settlements, and just regular people. The water conservation evaluation stage is often reward-driven: how much water did we save? What is the economic impact of increased agricultural water supplies? How many families will be served by conserving 2,500 acre-feet of water as a result of this project? How much more Rio Grande return flow can be captured for use in the Rio Bosque wetlands? Yet, at the moment this photo was taken in Clint, Texas, the reward was for me. As I took a soil sample to test for pH later, coffee mug in hand, I realized that Pima Cotton, when ripe for picking, looks beautiful under the morning sun.