Texas A&M University-Kingsville

Special issue of science journal "Environmental Geology" highlights groundwater management research

KINGSVILLE - February 20, 2007

Contact: Jason Marton
jason.marton@tamuk.edu or 361-593-4143

Uddameri team achieves unique accomplishment with eight articles accepted for publication

KINGSVILLE (February 20, 2007) — The current issue of the internationally distributed journal Environmental Geology points its spotlight on the water management research efforts of Dr. Venkatesh Uddameri, associate professor of environmental engineering at Texas A&M University-Kingsville, with a special edition.

 Featured in the issue, subtitled “Systems Analysis for Sustainable Aquifer Management in Semi-Arid South Texas,” are eight articles written by Uddameri and his research team that demonstrate how state-of-the-art computing techniques can be used for managing groundwater and their practical relevance to sustaining water resources in South Texas.  

It is rare when a research journal features more than one article by the same team of authors; typically, journals feature a collection of research papers authored by researchers from different institutions. In the case of this special issue, however, the work of Uddameri and his colleagues was of a caliber to make it worthy to be the prime focus of the issue.

“One of the prime objectives is the search for outstanding papers for the journal that
would interest our international readership,” said Dr. Philip E. LaMoreaux, editor-in-chief of
Environmental Geology. “The subject matter is particularly important to us and that was why the selection of the papers coordinated by Dr. Uddameri.” 

“What is unique about this special issue is that the papers comprising the issue came from a single research group, as opposed to a set of multiple experts,” said Uddameri. “Development of special issues from a single author’s research group is quite rare.”

The techniques demonstrated in the issue cover a wide range of groundwater resources topics ranging from figuring out how much rainfall will actually recharge our aquifers to developing innovative tools to design underground dams called aquifer storage recovery systems to increase groundwater resources.

“In Texas they say, ‘Whiskey is for drinking and water is for fighting,’” said Uddameri. “Groundwater issues are very relevant in water-scarce semi-arid areas like South Texas. The State of Texas is just beginning the process of developing policies to address how this scarce resource needs to be managed.” 

The special issue began two years ago, when Uddameri pitched the idea to LaMoreaux, stressing to him the importance of the topic. From there, he recommended the proposal to the journal’s publisher, Springer-Verlag, one of the best noted scientific publishing firms in the world, who agreed that it was worth their time and money to devote an issue to groundwater management.

“It is of particular honor to request a special issue,” said LaMoreaux. “Generally, at most, one such issue is done a year.”

Dr. Kuruvilla John, associate dean of the Frank H. Dotterweich College of Engineering and director of the college’s Center of Research Excellence in Science and Technology-Research on Environmental Sustainability of Semi-Arid Coastal Areas (CREST-RESSACA), further notes Uddameri’s accomplishment.

“Generally, at institutions known primarily as teaching universities such as Texas A&M-Kingsville, faculty members publish one to two papers per year. Development of a special issue in a major journal highlighting the research from a single author is extremely rare, and it is a tremendous recognition as well as a strong testimony to the research productivity and research relevance of the faculty.”

Research work for the required papers was carried out by Uddameri and doctoral students Vivek Honnungar and Muthu Kuchanur, the first Ph.D. graduate from the environmental engineering program. Kuchanur co-authored two of the articles with Uddameri, as did Honnungar. Funding for Uddameri’s research work came from both federal and local sources, including the National Science Foundation-funded CREST-RESSACA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Texas Water Resources Institute and the Refugio Groundwater Conservation District.

“A major mission of CREST-RESSACA and the Ph.D. program in environmental engineering is to develop a world renowned research program on environmental sustainability here at Texas A&M-Kingsville,” said John. “This special issue clearly demonstrates to the world that we are positioning ourselves as a leader in addressing the challenging problem of limited natural resources and sustainable groundwater management.

“Dr. Uddameri’s accomplishment showcases what can be achieved here at A&M-Kingsville and will play a vital role in attracting additional funding and will be instrumental in recruiting top-quality graduate students to Kingsville.”

Uddameri said that being featured in the journal means more than just personal recognition for his work. “I consider this special issue to be a big step in establishing a world class water resources management program here at Texas A&M-Kingsville that also addresses the local concerns of managing this precious resource for the future of South Texas.”


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