State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2008MS72B
Title: A Continuation of Climatological and Cultural Influences on Annual Groundwater Decline in the Mississippi Delta Shallow Alluvial Aquifer: Modeling Potential Solutions (Year Two)
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2008
End Date: 2/28/2009
Congressional District: 3rd
Focus Categories: Climatological Processes, Groundwater, Water Use
Keywords: Delta alluvial aquifer irrigation uses, surface and groundwater management
Principal Investigators: Wax, Charles; Pote, Jonathan
Federal Funds: $ 18,304
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 70,504
Abstract: 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 level decline in the aquifer is estimated at 500,000 acre-feet. This may represent a worst-case situation in which severe drought combined with consequent increased demand for irrigation. Additionally, the region was impacted by historic drought again during the growing season of 2007, and impacts to the aquifer have not yet been quantified.

WRRI-sponsored research in 2007 resulted in a model that can simulate the effects of climatological variability, crop acreage changes, and specific irrigation methods on consequent variations in the water volume in the aquifer. That research also resulted in suggested changes in cultural practices that, when simulated over a 45-year period into the future, showed a decrease in the consistent drop in water volume in the aquifer. The objective of this continuation of the research project is to continue development and refinement of the model by using 2007 climatological and water use data to validate the model results, and to then use the model to test and recommend specific management strategies aimed at stabilizing the drawdown in aquifer water volume. The resulting spreadsheet simulation model will be a tool that can be easily used to reflect climatic variability and changes in the cultural practices in the region, and one that can be easily modified as new information becomes available - a tool that will be useful in making management decisions that will allow sustainable use of the groundwater resource.

Progress/Completion Report, PDF

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