Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2016LA105B

Economic Impacts of Groundwater Salinity in Louisiana Agriculture

Institute: Louisiana
Year Established: 2016 Start Date: 2016-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $15,650 Total Non-Federal Funds: $31,331

Principal Investigators: Krishna Paudel

Abstract: We assess the economic impacts of salt water intrusion in the Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer (MRVAA) to Louisiana agriculture. Irrigation is an important measure to hedge risk against adverse climate pattern, but when groundwater that is used for irrigation is saline, it can have very adverse impacts on crop yield. Several scenarios can be assessed such as from adjusting cropping systems to adopting more salt tolerant crops to extreme measures such as not irrigating the crops at all. All these would have significant economic impacts on the region that depends on agriculture for livelihood. To assess and address the soil salinity concern, we propose to conduct research with following objectives: 1. Calculating the economic dynamics of salt deposits in soil from saline irrigation water; 2. Calculating the economic impacts of using saline water in the soybean and grain production system; 3. Calculating the economic impacts of an alternative solution for salinity problem under (a) The adoption of more salt-tolerant crop varieties and (b) The change in cropping system using that incorporate more salt tolerant crops; and 4. Understanding the implications of conjunctive surface and groundwater use in the production system. We will use impact analysis software such as IMPLAN to calculate the economic impacts of soil salinity in the MRVAA region. To understand the effects of soil salinity on crop yield, we will use a dynamic optimization model. To achieve the objective 4, we will use a conjunctive ground and surface water modeling approach. The goal would be to identify when and how much water should be used given the soil salinity situation in the MRVAA aquifer.