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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Riverside, California » U.S. Salinity Laboratory » Contaminant Fate and Transport Research » Research » Research Project #429511

Research Project: Improved Decision Support for Management of Non-traditional Irrigation Waters

Location: Contaminant Fate and Transport Research

Project Number: 2036-61000-018-02-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 30, 2015
End Date: Sep 29, 2020

Objective:
(1) Develop and assess fundamental physico-mathematical models that describe the movement of water, solutes, and energy through soil-plant systems, and (2) develop, for water-limited regions, irrigation management tools and recommendations for utilizing non-traditional, lower-quality irrigation waters.

Approach:
Existing modeling and decision support technologies developed at USSL and UCR include detailed representations of many root zone processes affecting the function and performance of irrigated agricultural production systems, but the models utilize relatively simple representations of crop growth. Conversely, existing mechanistic crop models offer detailed representations of growth, but are relatively limited in their ability to account for salinity and other stressors that can develop in the soil root zone of water-limited production systems, particularly those systems attempting to utilize non-traditional, lower-quality irrigation water. This research will involve the development of new modeling capabilities through the coupling of vadose zone hydrologic simulation models and mechanistic crop models. Growth chamber and small field experiments will be conducted and the collected data will be used to evaluate model performance and identify key processes affecting the productivity of salt-affected irrigated systems. Model scenario analysis will be used to evaluate alternative management practices.