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Alamosa News | On-water lessons are available for Adams State students, SLV high schoolers, and community members

ALAMOSE– A thriving community needs people who understand the connection between water and just about everything else, from our environment to our economy, from our food supply to our future. After all, water is life! ¡Agua es vida!

To help students and community members better understand the water-related challenges and opportunities in the San Luis Valley, Adams State University again offers the introductory Water 101: Water Essentials: How Water Works in the West course this fall semester. It is the first step towards a minor in water studies, towards a career in the field of water or towards a deeper engagement as a member of the community. The Salazar Rio Grande del Norte Center in Adams State has developed this new curriculum to help give students and community members the tools to work towards a more sustainable water future for the valley, for Colorado and for the West.

Local water expert Maya ter Kuile-Miller, a career agronomist and teacher, will lead Water 101. After earning her bachelor’s degree from the University of Oxford, England, Maya returned to Colorado for a master’s degree in agronomy at Colorado State University. She has managed projects for the Alamosa River Watershed Restoration Foundation, sampled water for Colorado Riverwatch; and now consults many farmers in the valley on issues ranging from irrigation water management and crop nutrition to farm economics.

“In the arid West, water is more precious than gold,” said ter Kuile-Miller. “I look forward to navigating these waters with you, including the basics of hydrology, water uses, administration, regulation, operation and some policies of this most precious resource. J hope this course will help you find your place as a citizen in a water-scarce world.”

Beyond the classroom, the course will also include local field trips that bring the role of water to life. Scholarships of $400 are available for this course, for registered students from Adams State.

New this fall Nick Saenz, Ph.D., professor of history, will teach a Water and equity course, taught by. Saenz received his doctorate in history from the University of California, San Diego and has taught at Adams State since 2013. He served as chairman of the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area Council, chairman of the Senate of the Adams State faculty and sits on both the Colorado Historic Preservation Review Board and the Colorado Historical Records Advisory Board.

“The course will explore water use across time and space, with a particular focus on Colorado and the San Luis Valley,” Saenz said. “We will discuss how different communities have used water to pursue agriculture, and how tensions between rural and urban demand have shaped the American West. Our focus will be to discover how water shapes and defines communities, contributing to their economic vitality and sense of identity.

In addition to being available to Adams State students, local high schools can enroll in these classes as concurrent classes, for early college credit, through their school counselor.

Community members can also take the courses as “listening classes” for $150, to deepen their water knowledge and engagement with vital water issues. To register or for more information, visit or email: [email protected].

To learn more about the entire Water Studies minor, visit: or send questions to: [email protected].