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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: A Novel Approach to Agricultural Water Management: Wetland Reservoir Subirrigation Systems

Authors
item Allred, Barry
item Clevenger, Bruce - OSU - EXTENSION
item Thornton, Clifford - USDA/NRCS
item Czartoski, Bernie - USDA/NRCS - RETIRED
item Fausey, Norman
item Cooper, Richard
item Brown, Larry - OSU - FABE DEPT.
item Reithman, Duane - USDA/NRCS
item Chester, Paul - USDA/NRCS
item Belcher, Harold - MICHIGAN STATE UNIV.

Submitted to: Water Research
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: April 15, 2000
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: An innovative agricultural water management system has been developed and is now being tested within the Ohio portion of the Maumee River Basin. Given widespread implementation of the concept, many of the region's environmental problems could be substantially reduced. Called a Wetland Reservoir Subirrigation System or WRSIS for short, it's comprised of a wetland and a water storage reservoir linked to a network of subsurface pipes used at different times to either drain or irrigate crops through the root zone. Surface runoff and subsurface drainage are collected in a constructed wetland. Natural processes allow the wetland to partially treat the water through removal of nutrients, pesticides and sediment. The water is then routed to a storage reservoir and held until needed to subirrigate crops during the dry part of the growing season. Weir-type hydraulic control structures regulate the surface water levels in the wetland and shallow ground water levels in soil, while limiting offsite discharge. WRSIS operates in a closed loop mode for the most part and very little water is released outside the system. Although more confirmation is needed, expected benefits from WRSIS include (1) greater crop yields, (2) additional wetland habitat, (3) decreased flooding potential downstream and (4) reductions in the amount of nutrients, pesticides and sediment discharged into local waterways.

Last Modified: 10/1/2014
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