Assessment of On-Farm Water Storage System (OFWS) for design and nutrient variability in the Mississippi Delta and East Mississippi

Author(s): Karki, R.; Tagert, M.; Paz, J.

Irrigation can help increase crop yields, decrease risk, and provides an avenue for crop diversification in Mississippi. In the Mississippi Delta, where groundwater is the primary source of water for irrigation, the Mississippi River Valley alluvial aquifer is being mined at an average of 3,00,000 acre-feet per year and the amount of withdrawal exceeds the recharge rate leading to a reduction in groundwater levels. Nutrient loading from irrigation tail water is another major concern in the Mississippi Delta. It has been estimated that about 1.5 million metric tons of nitrogen are being transported to the Gulf of Mexico every year from the Mississippi River Basin resulting in eutrophic conditions that has led to the development of hypoxic zones. An On-Farm Water Storage (OFWS) system, which consists of a tail water recovery ditch and a water storage pond, is a constructed BMP that has a primary goal of water conservation by capturing surface runoff from excess rainfall and irrigation tail water. This paper will describe an OFWS design and discuss the differences in OFWS establishment in the Mississippi Delta and East Mississippi based on irrigation techniques and tail water recovery systems. Preliminary findings on the difference in nutrient content of the storm water runoff and storage pond will also be discussed.
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