Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014MT288B

Student Fellowship: Seasonal Timing of Evapotranspiration and the Effect on Soil Moisture and Water Availability for Groundwater Recharge with Different Crop Rotation Practices

Institute: Montana
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $2,000 Total Non-Federal Funds: $880

Principal Investigators: Elizabeth Harris

Abstract: Precipitation, evapotranspiration (ET), groundwater recharge, and water yield undergo dramatic seasonal cycles in the continental climate of Montana. The timing of crop growth may be critical for determining how much water returns to the atmosphere via ET or enters groundwater and river systems. A better understanding of management effects on the seasonality of the water cycle will aid management decisions for both producers and water resource managers. Project objectives are to: 1) quantify effects of fallow field rotation on water storage; 2) measure fluctuations in evapotranspiration due to seasonal changes in climate and crop management to increase knowledge on how energy available for potential evapotranspiration is related to actual evapotranspiration throughout the year; and 3) determine water availability for groundwater recharge by measuring precipitation, soil moisture, and evapotranspiration to determine water inputs, outputs, and movement of water in the soil column. Results will provide agricultural growers and producers with new information to assess and possibly modify current practices.