Assessing new BMPS: efficiencies of a Tailwater Recover System and On-farm Storage Reservoir

Author(s): Omer, A.; Kröger, R.

The Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley in Mississippi is economically important due to its highly productive agricultural land. However, producers in this region face two predominant environmental issues that are inherently linked to the agricultural industry. Firstly, intensive agriculture practices which have resulted in increased surface transport of nutrient laden sediments, contributing to eutrophication in receiving waters and to the Gulf of Mexico Hypoxic Zone. Secondly, current water withdrawals from the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer for irrigation during the growing season when precipitation is minimal are not sustainable. These issues threatening environmental resources necessitate best management practices (BMPs) and groundwater conservation. This research investigates BMP systems as water resource conservation methods. Such practices include surface water capture and irrigation re-use systems, referred to as tailwater recovery systems (TWR) and on-farm storage reservoirs (OFS). A single year investigation of two TWRs and one OFS highlighted water holding capacities for irrigation reuse and functionality for nutrient capture as well. Research also included the investigation of the delivery of nutrients and water from a TWR to rice fields during the 2013 growing season, which allowed for the calculation of potential economic savings by a producer pumping surface water rather than ground water. While this research is ongoing, initial investigations indicate that TWRs and OFSs have much promise for water conservation in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley.

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