Huma Tariq

Huma Tariq

Ph.D. Candidate



Professional Links


I was born and raised in a quaint sleepy town in Northern Pakistan. As with the most small-town dwellers, I am a hopeless romantic, who loves storytelling and enjoys cooking and eating together while reciting the verses of regional poetry and dancing to the tunes of folk music.

I am an environmental enthusiast. My love for protecting the environment has stemmed mostly from my upbringing closely connected to the earth and its fruit while growing up in the beautiful valley of Mansehra, situated in the feet of Karakorum Mountain Range. Water and air pollution initially only a concern for aesthetic reasons later shaped my decision to choose environmental engineering as a career.

I obtained bachelor’s in environmental engineering from National University of Sciences and Technology, Pakistan. After graduation, I worked on a World Bank-funded project that studied livelihood enhancement. This project made me witness the ground realities of poverty-stricken communities and how environmental degradation is contributing to it. Working in the field inspired me to learn more; thus, I enrolled at the U.S.-Pakistan Center for Advanced Studies in Water to earn my master’s in environmental engineering. This center is situated in Southern Pakistan, where the agriculture sector is suffering from both water scarcity and poor water quality; living there I got a chance to witness the effects of these issues firsthand.

To be able to contribute professionally towards finding solutions to these problems, I wanted to undergird all my ideas with the scientific backing and deepen my understanding of various agricultural inputs. Therefore, I choose to continue my graduate studies and secured a Fulbright Scholarship to do a Ph.D. in Soil and Crop Sciences from CSU. Currently, I am working, in Dr. Thomas Borch’s lab, on assessing the impacts of irrigating crops with produced water on soil and plant health.

Project Summary

The impacts of climate change coupled with a continually growing population have put the agriculture sector under immense stress thus endangering global food security. Pollution caused/induced by anthropogenic activities is exacerbating the situation by leaving more and more water unfit for irrigation. Finding ways to treat wastewater for irrigation has surfaced as a potential solution in recent years. In Dr. Borch’s lab, I am involved in one of such projects.

I am studying the effects of oil- and gas-produced water on soil and plant health, and how using different soil organic matter supplements may contribute to the remediation of such effects. We are a part of an interdisciplinary team encompassing professionals from many disciplines including engineering, chemistry, molecular biology, and agronomy, to learn the impacts of wastewater on soil and crop health, and to design effective tools and techniques in providing sustainable solutions to minimize the adverse effects of wastewater.

Huma Tariq on climbing rope