Preserving Groundwater Quality and Availability for Agriculture
Delta Water Management Research Unit
2011 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416)
Reduce reliance on groundwater and maintain the quality of groundwater and surface water sources for agricultural uses through improved water management in agricultural systems.
1b.Approach (from AD-416)
USDA-ARS and Arkansas State University (ASU) are both interested in the preservation and enhancement of water resources in both the Arkansas Delta and the Grand Prairie. While water availability (both surface and groundwater) is reasonable to the east of Crowley’s Ridge, water quality is an issue. To the west of Crowley’s Ridge, both water availability (particularly groundwater) and water quality are serious concerns. Plant-based agriculture in Arkansas (primarily located in the eastern half of the state) is dependent on irrigation and Arkansas ranks 4th in the U.S. in irrigated acreage. Thus, the sustainability of agriculture and water resources in Arkansas are very closely linked. Ways must be found to increase the efficiency of water use while also improving the quality of the water resources in the state.
In addition to development of modeling resources, both groups will work to support the broad dissemination of modeling techniques via known scientific research channels such as TerraGrid. This will provide others with experience gained by researching groundwater issues in the Mississippi Delta.
Arkansas State University has provided both laboratory (550 ft2) and office space (140 ft2 each) at the state-of-the-art research facility, Arkansas Biosciences Institute. Meetings have resulted in plans to spend resources on a mixture of equipment and employees to support the research in this agreement. Monitoring activities included face-to-face meetings, phone calls, and e-mail messages.