Quantifying Water Use in the Mississippi Alluvial Plain

Tuesday, December 5, 2017: 11:00 a.m.
Drew Westerman , Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Little Rock, AR
Wade Kress , Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Nashville, TN
Jeannie Barlow, PhD , Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Jackson, MS

The Mississippi Alluvial Plain (MAP) is one of the most important agricultural regions in the United States with an estimated water-use demand for irrigation to be over 10 billion gallons per day. Crop productivity relies on groundwater irrigation from the Mississippi River Valley alluvial (MRVA) aquifer - an aquifer system that is not fully understood in terms of water-level response to pumping, sources of recharge and the water budget components. Withdrawals from the MRVA aquifer have resulted in substantial declines in groundwater-levels and reductions in stream baseflow, and a realization that continued rates of withdrawal may not be sustainable to maintain the aquifer as a source for irrigation in the region. To address this need in the MAP, the U.S. Geological Survey has initiated a regional water-availability study to improve characterization of the MRVA aquifer system. Understanding the water-use demands within the MAP region is imperative before questions of water availability and sustainability can be addressed. Water-use represents one of the largest components of the water budget and is significant variable in groundwater-flow models. The USGS plans to improve water-use estimates by establishing a regional water-use monitoring network and enhancing the existing State networks within the MAP region. These data along with multiple remotely-sensed (or GIS) data variables will be evaluated geostatistically to develop a dynamic irrigation water-use model to provide a consistent and improved estimate of water-use throughout the MAP. The irrigation water-use model will include variables such as; remotely-sensed data, climate data, crop types, soil types, and amount of irrigated acres to estimate water-use both spatially and temporally for the MAP region. Improving estimates of water use will improve groundwater-flow model predictions, and help guide management strategies to improve sustainability of water resources to meet the needs of humans and ecosystems.
Drew Westerman, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Little Rock, AR
Drew Westerman is a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center at Little Rock. He has worked in water resource investigations of groundwater and surface water that have included multiple states and six countries. Project responsibilities have included web-application design, Python programing, water resource computer modeling, and a full range of Geographic Information Systems endeavors. Outside of work, Drew actively contributes to the field of speleology through his caving adventures


Wade Kress, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Nashville, TN
Wade Kress has been a hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey since 1996. He has a BS in geology from Louisiana Tech University and is currently working on an MSc in petroleum geosciences at the Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi. Wade has worked throughout the United States as well as the United Arab Emirates on environmental and hydrogeologic framework projects specializing in the application of hydrogeophysics


Jeannie Barlow, PhD, Lower Mississippi-Gulf Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Jackson, MS
Research Hydrologist


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