On-Farm Storage Reservoir Water as a Potential Water Source in Managed Aquifer Recharge in Eastern Arkansas

Tuesday, December 5, 2017: 11:20 a.m.
102 B (Music City Center)
Deborah Leslie, PhD , USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR
Cammy Willett, PhD , Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Michele Reba, PhD, PE , USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR
M. Arlene Adviento-Borbe, PhD , USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR
Mary Yaeger, PhD , Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR
Joseph Massey, PhD , USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR

The Mississippi River Valley Alluvial Aquifer is the primary source of irrigation for agriculture in eastern Arkansas. However, alluvial aquifer declines in Arkansas, mainly attributed to irrigation, continue to impact production costs and groundwater sustainability. Agricultural producers are constructing on-farm reservoir - tailwater recovery (R-TWR) systems to reduce their reliance on groundwater. Reservoirs store surface water and, when coupled with a tailwater recovery system, underground pipes, and groundwater wells, function as a complete irrigation system. Currently, more than 700 R-TWR systems have been identified in two eastern Arkansas areas designated as Critical Groundwater Areas (CGA). In relation to water conservation measures, it would also be beneficial to devise methods that increase aquifer recharge. Infiltration (injection) galleries have been suggested as a strategy for managed aquifer recharge on site. Infiltration galleries could be installed within the unsaturated zone of the alluvial aquifer, which has expanded in CGA due to declining groundwater levels. Preferential gallery locations include areas with a thin confining clay layer and with a large enough depth to groundwater for sufficient treatment time in the unsaturated aquifer. On-farm reservoir water, which primarily consists of winter-spring precipitation, could serve as a source of recharge water during the non-growing season. The quality of the injected reservoir water would need to be improved through soil aquifer treatment within the unsaturated sand lithology before reaching the water table. The objective of this research is to identify the potential of R-TWR systems to enhance water quality, while also considering reservoir infrastructure, orientation, age, erosion control, etc. Initial water quality results, including herbicide concentrations, will be presented. Potential testing locations for infiltration galleries which reflect areas that have a thin confining clay layer, a suitable depth to groundwater, and an adjacent reservoir water supply within the Cache River CGA will also be discussed.
Deborah Leslie, PhD, USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR
Deborah Leslie is postdoctoral research hydrologist with the USDA-Agricultural Research Service Delta Water Management Research Unit. Her research interests include groundwater-surface water interactions, groundwater recharge, and stable isotopic applications in geochemical and hydrological investigations. She received her Ph.D. in Earth Sciences from The Ohio State University.


Cammy Willett, PhD, Department of Crop, Soil, and Environmental Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR
Cammy Willett is an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. Her work focuses on monitoring chemical contaminants in the environment to assess the impact of agricultural production systems on the fate and transport of chemical contaminants through the components of the agroecosystem. This research is essential for developing appropriate agronomic practices and mitigation strategies for conserving vital water and soil resources of the Mid-South. Before coming to the University of Arkansas, Dr. Willett taught Introductory Soil Science at the University of Missouri, where she also received her M.S. and Ph.D. in soil science.


Michele Reba, PhD, PE, USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR
Michele L. Reba is a research hydrologist and the lead scientist for the USDA-ARS worksite in Jonesboro, AR. The worksite is part of the National Sedimentation Laboratory located in Oxford, MS. Her work is focused on preserving water quantity and water quality related to agriculture in the Lower Mississippi River Basin.


M. Arlene Adviento-Borbe, PhD, USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR
M. Arlene Adviento-Borbe has a PhD in Agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She was a Project Scientist at the Department of Plant Sciences, University of California-Davis (2010-2015) and Assistant Scientist at the Soil and Water Sciences Division, International Rice Research Institute, Los BaƱos, Philippines (1992-2000). Currently, Dr. Adviento-Borbe is a Research Agronomist at the Delta Water Management Research Unit, USDA-ARS,Jonesboro, AR. Her interests include innovative nutrient and irrigation management practices that sustain high crop yield with minimal environmental risks. She has published more than 30 papers in peer-reviewed journals and has been serving as reviewer of 15 scientific journals.


Mary Yaeger, PhD, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, AR
Mary Yaeger is a postdoctoral hydrologist at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro working with the USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit. Her work focuses on remote sensing data applications in agricultural water resource management issues. She received her Ph.D. in civil engineering from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.


Joseph Massey, PhD, USDA-ARS Delta Water Management Research Unit, Jonesboro, AR
J.H. Massey, Ph.D. is a research agronomist with the USDA-ARS located in Jonesboro, Arkansas, whose work focuses on water-related issues in agriculture.


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