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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Jonesboro, Arkansas » Delta Water Management Research » Research » Research Project #432583

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

Location: Delta Water Management Research

Project Number: 6024-13000-003-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Apr 19, 2017
End Date: Apr 7, 2022

Objective 1: Measure, model, and/or estimate the impact of current and innovative farming practices on water quantity and quality while sustaining crop yields and reducing environmental impacts in irrigated agroecosystems. Sub-objective 1a: Quantify changes in irrigation water use, water quality, and crop water productivity as a result of implementing innovative rice production practices. Sub-objective 1b: Quantify changes in irrigation water use, water quality, and crop water productivity as a result of implementing innovative row-crop production practices. Objective 2: Develop and/or enhance agronomically sound irrigation and drainage management tools, practices, and technologies that protect and/or increase available water resources. Sub-objective-2a: Evaluate alternative sources of irrigation water. Sub-objective-2b: Evaluate practices and technologies for managed recharge of the MRVA aquifer. Objective 3: Improve watershed management in irrigated agroecosystems of the Lower Mississippi River Basin. Sub-objective 3a: Develop an improved understanding of nutrient and sediment transport, transformations and the hydrology in an irrigated landscape.

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.