Sandra Guzmán, Water Institute affiliate faculty member, joined the University of Florida in November, 2018. An assistant professor of Agricultural and Biological Engineering located at the UF-IFAS Indian River Research and Education Center (IRREC) in Ft. Pierce Florida, she is currently leading the smart irrigation and hydrology program working in direct contact with citrus producers and stakeholders in the region.
Dr. Guzmán involvement with the UF Water Institute predates her arrival at UF. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Water Resources Center at Auburn University, she was an active member a UF Water Institute led project the Floridan Aquifer Collaborative Engagement for Sustainability (FACETS). The project, working with a multidisciplinary team from universities in Alabama, Georgia and Florida, seeks to ensure economic sustainability of agriculture and silviculture in North Florida and South Georgia while protecting water quantity, quality, and habitat in the Upper Floridan Aquifer and its springs and rivers. Guzmán developed farm- and watershed-scale models that simulate crop production as well as water and nutrient transport ,from farms and forests, to the Upper Floridan aquifer and Lower Flint river . “We are pleased that Sandra has taken a faculty position at the University of Florida” said Wendy Graham, Director of the UF Water Institute and lead of the FACETS project, “and we look forward to continued collaboration.”
Although gigantic progress has been made in the study of water management for agriculture here in Florida, we still face challenges especially to balance, economic, environmental, and production needs said Guzmán. FACETS gave me the opportunity to understand the importance of evaluating these needs altogether, and more than anything, including the grower perspective into our recommendations. I look forward to continuing doing that in my new position and move our citrus growers to be an example in the sustainable use of water for irrigation.
In her position, Guzmán research and extension programs will focus on the development of programs for the efficient use of water, evaluation of smart irrigation technologies, and implementation of best management practices. Guzmán completed a Ph.D. in Biological Engineering with a concentration in environmental and water resources from Mississippi State University in 2016. Guzmán earned a Master of Science in Agricultural Engineering in 2011, and a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Engineering in 2009, both from the National University of Colombia, Bogotá.