Keynote presenter previews NGWA Conference on Hydrogeophysics and Deep Groundwater

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Courtesy of National Ground Water Association (NGWA)

Andrea Croskrey, PG, of the Texas Water Development Board will give the keynote presentation at the NGWA Conference on Hydrogeophysics and Deep Groundwater, March 20-21 in Denver, Colorado. Focusing on the use of geophysics—from remote sensing to borehole applications—for groundwater studies, the conference also includes a follow-up to the 2014 NGWA Conference on Characterization of Deep Groundwater. 

Below Croskrey gives a preview of her presentation as well as what she is looking forward to learning at the conference. 
NGWA: Your keynote presentation is titled 'Mapping Brackish Aquifers: Future Water Resources.' Can you give us a short preview of what you'll discuss? What do you hope attendees learn and possibly take home to implement at their job? 
Croskrey: I'll be discussing the history of brackish groundwater development in Texas, how the state water plan is implemented, what role brackish groundwater has in the state water plan, our general methodology for mapping brackish groundwater by data mining and analyzing geophysical well logs, challenges and future research opportunities related to mapping brackish groundwater, and what reports and datasets are available on our website. Texas is at the forefront of developing these resources, so I hope attendees will leave with insights on how Texas is mapping and planning to use brackish groundwater. 
NGWA: You began with the Texas Water Development Board in 2013. How has it gone and what does the future of mapping brackish aquifers look like? 
Croskrey: I really like working for the State of Texas and helping Texans discover and understand our water resources. It is also great to have the support of our legislators. In 2015, we received funding in House Bill 30 to aid our mapping program. House Bill 30 also mandated that the brackish portions of all the major and minor aquifers be evaluated by 2022, so we'll be pretty busy the next five years meeting that deadline. 
NGWA: What are some of the biggest challenges you encounter when mapping brackish aquifers and how do you work to overcome them? 
Croskrey: I would say that lack of water quality data in the deeper and more saline sections of the aquifers is one of our biggest challenges. Luckily, Texas has a fair amount of publicly available geophysical well logs. We convert measurements from those logs to interpreted water quality values to fill in the gaps when we do not have actual water quality samples. 
NGWA: You develop publications and educational material to disseminate information to the public about brackish aquifers in Texas. How has the level of understanding among the public changed since you began working for the Texas Water Development Board in 2013? What are some of the most effective ways you've found to help increase their understanding? 
Croskrey: Providing information to the public is a core part of the TWDB's mission, and we work hard to see that mission is achieved. Over the years, there has been an increased interest in brackish aquifers in Texas. That increase is evident through the increase of questions asked of our staff and the number of data requests from Groundwater Conservation Districts, consultants, and legislators. In addition, the TWDB website has been experiencing an increase in traffic since the legislature convened in January. The stakeholder meetings we've held around the state are well attended, and folks are asking informative questions. I believe attendees are benefitting from the presentations, and the technical folks really appreciate the source data we provide with our studies. 
NGWA: Which session are you most looking forward to attending at the conference? 
Croskrey: On Monday, I'm definitely going to watch and support Daniel Lupton present on the Rustler Aquifer project that INTERA completed for us in 2016. I'm also looking forward to learning how some other folks are utilizing geophysical tools to explore the deep sections of aquifers.

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