Towards an Improved Understanding of On-Farm Water Storage Systems in Mississippi: How Much Water Is Lost from These Systems?

Author(s): Perez-Gutierrez, J.; Paz, J.; Love M. Tagert, M.

On-farm Water Storage (OFWS) systems can mitigate downstream nutrient-enrichment pollution originating from agricultural landscapes. In the Mississippi Delta, an OFWS system usually combines tail-water recovery (TWR) ditches and on-farm reservoirs. The surface runoff and irrigation tail water is collected by ditches, and most of this water is pumped to reservoirs to be stored for future irrigation needs. The remainder of the in-ditch water evaporates, infiltrates, or flows out of the system. Previous studies have focused their attention on the spatial and temporal water quality changes throughout OFWS systems to quantify their nutrient reduction capacity. However, less attention has been placed on measuring the volume of water that is effectively lost from these systems, which is important to investigate so we can better understand the net environmental benefits of using OFWS systems. This study presents preliminary results of water quantity monitoring at the outlet pipe of an OFWS system implemented on a farm located in Porter Bayou Watershed, Mississippi. This data obtained from this study will help to better quantify and provide additional insight on the benefits of OFWS for nutrient reduction and water storage in agricultural watersheds.

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