Abstracts

Water Quality Changes in On-Farm Water Storage Systems: A Seasonal Variability Analysis

Author(s): Pérez-Gutiérrez, J.; Paz, J.; Tagert, M.

Agricultural practices adversely alter the nutrients’ natural cycle. The changes are due in large part to the dramatic increase in the use of fertilizers to support agricultural production. A substantial portion of nutrients is transported to groundwater and adjacent waterbodies via surface and irrigation runoff. This environmental issue is of special concern in the Mississippi River Basin, as it is the main source of nutrients that stimulate the development of the hypoxia zone in the northern Gulf of Mexico. To address this issue, Best Management Practices (BMPs) have been implemented with the aim of reducing nutrient loading from agricultural lands in the Mississippi Delta region. Recently, On-Farm Water Storage (OFWS) systems have attracted much attention because of their benefits to the environment, farmers and landowners. However, little is known about the watershed-scale impacts of these systems, as well as the effectiveness of OFWS systems in reducing nutrient loading downstream. This study discusses water quality changes in OFWS systems by analyzing the seasonal variability of several water quality parameters collected from OFWS systems at two farms in Porter Bayou watershed, Mississippi. Preliminary results reveal considerable differences in nitrogen and phosphorus concentrations between the influent and effluent water samples. The OFWS systems examined in this study show significant nutrient loading reduction downstream.

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