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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Ames, Iowa » National Laboratory for Agriculture and The Environment » Soil, Water & Air Resources Research » Research » Research Project #431406

Research Project: Eco-hydrological Modeling Using Field-based and Earth Observations to Assess Water Use Efficiency & Support Agricultural Water Resources Management

Location: Soil, Water & Air Resources Research

Project Number: 5030-11610-005-68-I
Project Type: Interagency Reimbursable Agreement

Start Date: Feb 7, 2017
End Date: Feb 28, 2019

Objective:
In this project, we will develop an integrated modeling platform using Earth Observations to simulate large-scale hydrological processes and food production in support of agricultural practices and policy. The decision tool will provide timely and relevant information to assess: (1) the condition of the water resource, (2) the effectiveness of the water management, and (3) the impacts of climate projections on food production.

Approach:
In this project, we will develop an integrated modeling platform using Earth Observations to simulate large-scale hydrological processes and food production in support of water use decision and agricultural policy. The decision tool will provide timely and relevant assessments of crop growth, agricultural water use and available water supply, with the capability to predict the impact of different climate and water resources management scenarios on food production. The primary outcome for stakeholders will be potential best water management practices to improve water use efficiency and prevent excessive losses of water and nitrogen to the environment. Changing precipitation patterns, droughts of increasing duration and severity and growing demand for food have significant implications on water management practices, spurring an increased need for irrigation in a sustainable manner and better monitoring of water resources for the agricultural sector in general. Understanding the context and water resource constraints that stakeholders and smallholder farmers face in climate sensitive regions are critical to target and understand the potential impact of water use management. We will focus on a finite set of regional pilot cases in Argentina, South Africa, Tanzania, and the United States that are representative of a range of agricultural systems, water issues and climate impacts. The application will be integrated in the GEOGLAM Crop Assessment Tool, an existing web-based platform which will aid synthesizing the project outcomes and expert domain knowledge to provide timely and actionable water resources and crop condition reports to assist water management decisions. The application will be interactive and will offer the end-user organizations the possibility to submit new water resource management scenarios for impact evaluation.