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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Preserving Water Quality and Availability for Agriculture in the Lower Mississippi River Basin

Location: Delta Water Management Research Unit

Project Number: 6024-13000-002-00
Project Type: Appropriated

Start Date: Apr 19, 2012
End Date: Apr 18, 2017

Objective 1: Conduct hydrological system studies to measure, model and predict the impact of current and innovative farming practices and associated ground and surface water withdrawals on water availability and quality. (1.1.5, 1.2.1) 1a: Improve the quantification of the on-farm water balance. 1b: Modify existing hydrology models to improve simulations of water quantity. Objective 2: Develop economical and environmentally sound irrigation and drainage management tools, practices, and technologies that conserve water and protect regional water resources and supplies. (1.1.2, 1.3.1, 1.3.2) 2a: Quantify water quantity and quality as a result of the implementation of conservation practices. 2b: Test the practice of incorporating existing soil moisture technology in agricultural water management to reduce irrigation water use.

To preserve the quantity and quality of irrigation water supplies in the Lower Mississippi River Basin, it is necessary to consider the range of crops, soils, and production systems; the types of irrigation and drainage systems employed; the level of runoff water recycling employed; and the different water sources available. This project will address ways to improve the sustainability of groundwater supplies by investigating alternative irrigation methods for the crops currently produced in the region. Production system evaluations will include on-farm research with active participation by crop producers and crop advisors. Data collected from on-farm evaluations will be used to inform, enhance and validate existing hydrology models. Findings from this research are expected to reduce agricultural reliance on groundwater and improve water resources management, inform decision makers of potential impacts of conservation practices, and arm producers with tools and technologies that conserve water resources while maintaining crop yield.

Last Modified: 1/28/2015
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