Texas Cooperative Extension has teamed up with the Texas Water Resources Institute to establish a new water management specialist position in West Texas. The goal is to help agricultural producers, urban residents and water providers to conserve water and protect the quality of water resources.

Mike Mecke, who formerly worked for the San Antonio water system, began his new job duties as an Extension specialist in water management in September. Based in the Texas A&M Research and Extension Center in Fort Stockton, Mecke will work throughout 23 West Texas counties and assist residents in a region from Del Rio north to Big Spring and west to El Paso.

TWRI Director Allan Jones says thenew position is remarkable for a number of reasons. First, it's one of the first instances in which TWRI and Extension have joined forces to fund and support a water management specialist.

“It was obvious to us that this arid part of West Texas needed help in better managing their scarce water resources,” Jones said. “This is just part of an effort to better integrate TWRI into both research and Extension efforts.

“In addition, Mecke will also complement our ongoing efforts to increase the efficiency of water use in the TWRI Rio Grande Basin Initiative.”

Mecke will work on a diverse array of water resources issues.

“I expect that I will be called upon to provide expertise and guidance on several water resources issues, including the sustainable management of ground and surface waters, water quality and conservation in farming systems and urban areas, watershed and stream bank management, and recent ongoing county-based educational programs.