Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2019MI136B

Developing and enhancing sustainable water use of natural and agricultural systems

Institute: Michigan
Year Established: 2019 Start Date: 2019-05-31 End Date: 2020-05-30
Total Federal Funds: $34,322 Total Non-Federal Funds: $99,986

Principal Investigators: Glenn O'Neil

Abstract: With an ever-increasing global population and demand for food, stresses on sustainable water quantity and quality will likely intensify resulting in water issues emanating in part from agricultural production practices. If these practices do not sufficiently connect in harmony with the natural system through a better understanding of system functions, particularly relative to water quality and quantity, government organizations at numerous levels may place greater constraints on agricultural operations. Such constraints will address certain popular issues and critically important ones such as water quality and quantity, yet these constraints may greatly restrict the flexibility, profit margin, and sustainability of the agricultural systems in many parts of our nation. The Institute of Water Research (IWR) is a focused and empowered unit that applies research and develops methods for integrating new scientific understanding into operational systems. Such a process allows IWR to better provide guidance for the sustainability of the water and land resources empowering operational food production development, and enlightened management of natural resources. By working in concert with farm, urban and environmental systems at various levels, we can benefit their goals more effectively while addressing resource sustainability. This systems coupling is a missing link in many research endeavors. We have provided many individuals and organizations with new concepts, processes and tools to serve as a starting point for further growth and dissemination of 21st Century information technologies. Furthermore, the development of new and improved tools that we incorporate into Decision Support Technologies will help users develop and enhance the sustainable use of natural and managed systems. Some of our successes will inform and motivate individuals around the globe to co-create with colleagues to evolve even better management methods, solutions, and new policies utilizing the new Decision Support Technologies we create. The uniqueness of our approach lies in the fact that we address real-world contemporary challenges through a process that includes collaboration and creation with users and interfacing with agencies that may regulate the solutions (which generally involves real-time decision support tools). This co-creation and interfacing involves end users (farmers, resource technicians, certified crop consultants, natural resource specialists, etc.), government, industry, environmentalists and policy makers, as well as basic and applied researchers, educators and technical support providers. The IWR operational research approach focuses on its integration of scientific and social knowledge with linkage to water resources, decision support, watersheds, and land use and outreach. This integrative approach helps guide agricultural practices and policy utilizing new information technologies in Decision Support Systems (DSS) and is now more critically important than ever before.