Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2020ND079B

Impact of Subsurface Drainage and Subirrigation on Water Quality in Richland County, North Dakota

Institute: North Dakota
Year Established: 2020 Start Date: 2020-02-29 End Date: 2021-02-27
Total Federal Funds: $4,290 Total Non-Federal Funds: $8,580

Principal Investigators: Xinhua Jia

Abstract: Agricultural runoff has recently received national attention due to its impact on surface water quality, like contributing to the growth of harmful algal blooms. Tile drainage is a specific type of drainage drawing criticism because of the amount of nitrate and phosphate that may leave a field through tile drainage outlets. It has become a popular management practice in the Red River Valley due to recent wet years and soil impacted by salinity. The research site in question for this project is a controlled drainage field, where the lift station outlet is turned off for certain periods of time, usually after planting and harvest. The lift station is turned on prior to planting and harvest to remove moisture from the field, which increases trafficability and the amount of oxygen available to the crops. Subirrigation supplied by the Fairmount aquifer has been applied through the tile lines in this field during periods of low soil moisture. The field is also impacted by salinity in certain areas. In this project, we will analyze biweekly water samples taken from the lift stations to determine the impact of controlled drainage and subirrigation on water quality and soil salinity.