Climatological and Cultural Influences on the Potential for Conservation of Groundwater in the Mississippi Delta Shallow Alluvial Aquifer by Substituting Surface Water for Irrigation

Author(s): Wax, C. ;  Pote, J.;  Merrell, T.

The shallow alluvial aquifer in the Mississippi Delta region is heavily used for irrigation of corn, soybeans, and cotton, as well as for rice flooding and filling aquaculture ponds in the prominent catfish industry. Water volume in the aquifer is subject to seasonal declines and annual fluctuations caused by both climatological and crop water use variations from year-to-year. The most recently documented water volume decline in the aquifer is estimated at 500,000 acre-feet.

Available climate, crop acreage, irrigation water use, and groundwater decline data from Sunflower County were used to construct a model that simulates the effects of climatic variability, crop acreage changes, and specific irrigation methods on consequent variations in the water volume in the aquifer. Climatic variability was accounted for by predictive equations that related annual measured plant water use (irrigation) to growing season precipitation amounts. This derived relationship allowed the application of a long-term climatological record (48 years) to simulate the cumulative impact of climate on groundwater use for irrigation.

Use of the model to simulate changes in irrigation methods and crop acreages from 2008 through 2055 shows potential to stabilize the water volume in the aquifer through implementation of various management strategies. Four scenarios of water management were simulated—static land use/water use in 2006, total efficient irrigation methods, total inefficient irrigation methods, and enhanced surface water use when available in place of groundwater for irrigation. These simulations illustrate the power of the model to assess the long-term impact of climatic variability and changes in the cultural practices on groundwater use in the region. The model is therefore a tool that will be useful in making management decisions that will allow sustainable use of the groundwater resource.


Technical Presentations

  • Delta Water Quality
  • Delta Water and Agriculture
  • Wetlands
  • Water Quality
  • Sediments
  • Non-Point
  • Management and Sustainability
  • Wood Treatment
  • Modeling
  • Soil and Water Treatment


Responsible Site Design: Implementing Innovative Stormwater Management Strategies

The primary goal of the workshop is to create a dynamic learning experience that examines the role of stormwater management in the built environment. The workshop will focus on integrating ecologically sound water management approaches into site design. After the workshop, attendees will be familiar with the following concepts and technical issues:

  • Knowledge of the stormwater treatment chain
  • Knowledge of the impact of land use codes on stormwater management
  • Application of a design process that mitigates the effects of stormwater on-site
  • Knowledge of the relationship between land use codes and design for innovative stormwater management


For information contact:
Jessie Schmidt
Box 9680
Mississippi State, MS 39762