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Water for Food Institute website gets new look, content
Please take a moment to explore WFI's updated website featuring a refreshed design and new photos and content, including:

New Five-Year Report
New publications
2016 Water for Food Global Conference

website screenshot

New research published on estimating soil water balance
WFI postdoctoral researcher Isidro Campos (pictured) is the lead author of a paper recently published in the journal Agricultural Water Management.

The paper analyzes the application of soil water balance models based on remote sensing data for irrigation assessment. Soil water balance models are simple, precise and operative approaches to assess irrigation necessities in cultivated lands. But the application of these models to some crops is limited by our narrow knowledge about the soil properties related with water retention and actual soil depth explored by the roots. In this paper, the authors assume that these characteristics are unknown for some canopies, as is the case of cultivated vineyard, but the model can be calibrated by using a limited set of surface evapotranspiration experimental values. This calibration is site specific, and after that, the model can be applied in predictive scenarios for irrigation and water stress assessment. Read paper.

This publication was authorized by researchers of the Water for Food Institute-UNL, University of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain), Andalusian Institute of Agricultural and Fisheries Research and Training (IFAPA) and Chilean Institute for Agronomic Research (INIA) in the framework of the project CERESS, funded by the Spanish Science and Innovation Ministry, co-funded by FEDER.

Water for Food Institute celebrates five years of growth
Over the past five years, WFI has been working to harness the University of Nebraska's long-held expertise in water and agriculture to help ensure global water and food security for future generations. A reception was held Dec. 4 to celebrate and reflect on the institute's growth and progress since its founding in 2010. Thank you to the many staff, faculty, students, administrators, funders, partners and colleagues who have contributed to WFI's evolution from a seed of an idea to an impact-driven reality. View photos from the event.

5-year anniversary admin group photo
From left: Roberto Lenton, Mogens Bay, Ronnie Green and Hank Bounds
Early leaders and staff reflect on WFI's founding and share their hopes for the future in this video by Jesse Starita, education outreach associate.

Water for Food Institute Five Year Anniversary Video
Water for Food Institute five year anniversary video

Nebraska Conservation Summit dives into state water issues
Alan Kolok Dec. 2015
On Dec. 7, the Nebraska League of Conservation Voters and the Nebraska Conservation Education Fund hosted the 2015 Nebraska Conservation Summit. The workshop, held at Omaha's Scott Conference Center, explored pressing water issues affecting Nebraska. Speakers included Water for Food Institute Director of Policy Nick Brozovic and several other top water experts, including WFI Faculty Fellow Alan Kolok (pictured) and hydrologist Ann Bleed. Participants discussed drought, water quality, water governance and policy, climate change and the intersections of water, agriculture and energy. Read Omaha World Herald story.
Upcoming events

Simon Cook, executive director candidate seminar | Dec. 14 
Join us for a seminar by executive director candidate Dr. Simon Cook. Dr. Cook is an independent research consultant and former founding director of the CGIAR Consortium's Water, Land and Ecosystems program. He will share his vision for leading the institute. 

Monday, Dec. 14, 4 p.m.
Nebraska Innovation Campus
Conference Center
, Rooms B1-B2
2021 Transformation Dr.
Lincoln, Nebraska USA

The seminar will conclude with a Q&A session, followed by a reception at 5 p.m. If you are unable to attend, the seminar will be live-streamed and archived on our YouTube channel.  

Visiting scholar seminar on global water use | Dec. 15
Join us for a seminar by Dr. Mesfin Mekonnen, postdoctoral researcher at the University of Twente, Enschede, the Netherlands.

"The relation between consumption and water use:
A global overview
Tuesday, Dec. 15, 10-11:30 a.m.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln
Hardin Hall Auditorium
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

UNL hosts Jakarta symposium on water and food security | Dec. 15

                                                        Neil Palmer/CIAT
As part of the Chancellor-led delegation to Indonesia this month, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is organizing a symposium in Jakarta Dec. 15. "Sustainable Food and Water Security through Responsible Intensification of Agriculture" will include Indonesian colleagues from the government and university sectors as well as two of UNL's partners from Wageningen University and CSIRO Australia. The symposium will focus on food security/self-sufficiency and water sustainability. There will also be presentations on plant innovation, and the human, plant and soil biomes. Participants will also consider related issues with a special focus on agriculture and food production's influence on early childhood development. The topics represent research areas of potential cooperation with Indonesian institutions. A significant portion of the program will involve UNL, Wageningen, and CSIRO colleagues discussing the Global Yield Gap and Water Productivity initiative that UNL has successfully launched in 40 of the world's most important agricultural nations. Learn more.

Transdisciplinary Conversations | Jan. 27

Transdisciplinary Conversations
The Buffett Early Childhood Institute at the University of Nebraska will host the first Transdisciplinary Conversations networking event of 2016. More details coming soon.

Wednesday, Jan. 27, 4:30-6 p.m.
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Wick Alumni Center
Lincoln, Nebraska, USA

NCTA to host water solutions workshop | Jan. 28
NCTA workshop
The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture in Curtis will hold an irrigation management workshop to help crop producers and irrigators choose tools that work best for their operations. The event is co-hosted by the Nebraska Water Balance Alliance and the University of Nebraska's West Central Research and Extension Center.

"Low to High Tech Water Solutions"
Thursday, Jan. 28
Nebraska Agriculture Industry Education Center
Curtis, Nebraska, USA

The event is complementary for attendees, but pre-registration is required by Jan. 21. See details online. For additional information, contact Brad Ramsdale at bramsdale2@unl.edu, +1 (308) 367.5225.

KANEKO exhibit uses fine art to explore water science | Feb. 5 - April 23 
Kaneko WATER exhibit logo
A new exhibition at the KANEKO art space in Omaha will focus on water, featuring research from WFI and its affiliated faculty.

WATER explores issues impacting water quality and sustainability both within the midwest and globally. These concepts will be highlighted through the combination of scientific data and fine art, while encouraging visitors to consider their own relationship with water -- how water impacts our community, our health and our perspectives. The exhibition opens to the public Feb. 5 and will continue through April 23. Learn more.

Transdisciplinary Conversations | March 10  
Transdisciplinary Conversations graphic
The March Transdisciplinary Conversations event will coincide with KANEKO's exciting WATER exhibition. WFI will host a reception in the art space, giving participants an opportunity to enjoy the impressive visual displays exploring ideas related to water and agriculture.

Thursday, March 10, 5-7 p.m.
1111 Jones St, Omaha, Nebraska, USA
More details will be available in January.

2016 Water for Food Global Conference | April 24-26 

The 2016 Water for Food Global Conference, Catalytic Collaborations: Building Public-Private Partnerships for Water and Food Security, will take place April 24-26 at Nebraska Innovation Campus in Lincoln, Nebraska, USA. Through compelling keynote addresses, panel discussions, poster presentations, tours and side events, the conference will showcase how PPPs can be a catalyst for change in approaching water and food security now and in our future. Registration details will be available in January. Learn more.
Spotlight: featured faculty 

Derek Heeren, irrigation engineer
Derek Heeren
Derek Heeren's research helps farmers and other stakeholders grow more food with less water using variable rate irrigation (VRI) management. His activities include analyzing the benefits and economics of VRI, managing for topography with VRI, and using remote sensing (with WFI Director of Research Christopher Neale) and cosmic-ray probes (with WFI Faculty Fellow Trenton Franz) for VRI management. His teaching interests include irrigation systems management, field irrigation methods, vadose zone hydrology modeling, soil conservation and watershed management. His coursework supports the Advanced Water Management for Food Production double-degree master's program administered jointly by UNL and the UNESCO-IHE Institute for Water Education in the Netherlands.

Heeren holds a doctorate in biosystems engineering from Oklahoma State University. He earned master's and bachelor's degrees in agricultural engineering from South Dakota State University. He also spent two years working at a geotechnical engineering firm in the St. Louis, Mo. area prior to graduate school.

He was awarded the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's STAR Graduate Fellowship and recognized as a New Face of Engineering by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers.
See a short video interview with Dr. Heeren and learn more about his work on the WFI website.

The Water for Food Institute at the University of Nebraska was founded in 2010 by the Robert B. Daugherty Foundation to address the global challenge of achieving food security with less stress on water resources through improved water management in agricultural and food systems. We are committed to ensuring a water and food secure world while maintaining the use of water for other human and environmental needs.