Groundwater dynamic modeling and sustainable management in Big Sunflower River Watershed

Author(s): Han, M.; Feng, G.; Ouyang, Y.; Gao, F.

Groundwater resource in Mississippi Delta is under a serious threat due to overdraft by agricultural pumpage, and showing a decreasing trend since 1970s. Groundwater management strategies are needed for the sustainable development of agriculture in Delta. This study analyzed groundwater dynamics in Big Sunflower River Watershed (BSRW) from 2000 to 2009 using MODFLOW model. The MODFLOW model was set up to quantify the changes in groundwater storage, level, and balance during this simulation period. The model was first calibrated with measured data and compared with the results from previous modeling studies in BSRW with a good agreement. Two scenarios were then chosen to evaluate groundwater management: 1) different crop rotation/sequence, and 2) coupled use of surface water and groundwater for irrigation. The results revealed that the annual change in groundwater storage was highly correlated to the annual amount of precipitation in this region. As the annual precipitation was larger than 60 inch, the groundwater storage increased due to receiving more rainwater recharge and pumping less groundwater for irrigation. Coupling use of surface and ground waters is a sustainable way for water resources management in this region. Appropriate percentages of utilizing groundwater and surface waters were determined under current weather conditions and future climate change scenarios.

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