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Working With Water Around The World: Alan Fryar

Alan Fryar of UK’s Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (EES) was recently awarded the prestigious Fulbright Program scholarship by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Through its support of education and research, this program promotes collaboration between the U.S. and other countries to address common priorities and concerns. Scholarship recipients are selected through a merit based competition established on academic achievement and leadership in the area of study. For his project, Fryar will work with Prof. Lahcen Benaabidate (Faculté des Sciences et Techniques – Fès) to study the influence of climate change on spring flows in Morocco’s Middle Atlas Mountains.
Why Morocco?
Morocco has been in drought since the 1980s and global climate change is expected to reduce available water resources further. The Middle Atlas plateau is the “water tower” for Morocco's two largest rivers, the Sebou and the Oum Er Rbia, which originate from springs. These rivers are a major economic resource for the country so an understanding of the impact of climate change on their source is imperative to long-term water management strategies. To approach the problem, Fryar and Benaabidate will focus on short-term responses of these source springs to storms and snowmelt, which would be expected to change with climate. Beginning January 2014, they will conduct data review and field reconnaissance to identify springs that respond relatively rapidly to infiltration and instrument them for water level, temperature, and water chemistry measurements. Results of this project should be scientifically novel and useful for water managers.
Other Research:
Fryar’s research encompasses recharge, flow, and chemistry in regional sedimentary aquifers; natural attenuation of contaminants; groundwater-surface water interactions; transport of sediments and bacteria in karst aquifers; water resources in developing countries; and the history of hydrology. Currently, he is working with graduate students and recent graduates from Morocco, Egypt, Turkey, and Indonesia as part of a training network in hydrologic sciences. This effort, funded by the U.S. Department of State, is being conducted in collaboration with colleagues from those countries as well as the University of Georgia and UK. A little closer to home, he is finalizing a project for the U.S. Department of Energy to assess groundwater and pollutant discharge to springs along a creek downstream of the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. This research is funded through the Kentucky Research Consortium for Energy and Environment.
Courses: When he’s not engaged in his research, Fryar is responsible for the development and/or delivery of several EES courses including EES 585 (Hydrogeology), which focuses on the occurrence and movement of groundwater and its role in the water cycle, and EES 385 (Hydrology and Water Resources), which covers occurrence, movement, and quality of fresh water in the water cycle.
On his students: “I’m fortunate to have had great graduate students. I’ve been the primary advisor for six PhD graduates and 13 MS graduates. I’m currently advising three Ph.D. students (and co-advising another) and one MS student. My former advisees are working for environmental and engineering consulting firms, government agencies, universities, a petroleum company, Alltech, and the Lexington Fire Department.”
If you would like to know more about Dr. Fryar’s Fulbright award or other information about his research, please contact him via email  -