Irrigation and Drainage

Oral

398060 - Moving the Science Forward to Achieve Sustainable Water Reuse in Agriculture: Barriers and Opportunities

Wednesday, June 6
10:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Location: Skyway Room

As climate variability and growing water demand are placing severe stress on our limited freshwater sources, water reuse and exploring nontraditional irrigation water sources have become national priorities for agricultural water security and the sustainable food production across the U.S. At the same time, the recent Food Safety Modernization Act places great responsibility on agricultural producers, who must meet stricter guidelines with regard to the quality of irrigation water used on food crops. At this critical juncture in food production, the objectives of this study are to navigate barriers and opportunities to ensure safe and sustainable use of nontraditional water for irrigation. In this research, we focused on two key regions, the Mid-Atlantic and Southwest, thereby highlighting two diverse climates that are in different stages of need for nontraditional irrigation. First we focused on the current status of national water reuse regulations and guidelines. Results showed that less than 25 states have adopted regulations and only about 11 states have guidelines or design standards with water reuse as the primary intent. In addition, only about 27 states have regulation or guideline with respect to agricultural water reuse for food crops. As second part of this project, water reuse availability in the study area was estimated. For instance, results showed that more than 2,000 mgd of highly treated wastewater is being discharged in California that can supply a significant portion of state’s water demand. In addition, a comprehensive characterization of the microbial, chemical and physical quality of nontraditional irrigation water sources was conducted. Finally, as part of this study, multiple on-farm technologies have been identified and tested to improve the quality of nontraditional water sources.

Masoud Negahban-Azar

Assistant Professor
University of Maryland, College Park

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