Jul 4, 2017
Ag water security targeted in University of Florida project

The UF Water Institute has received a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture program totaling $5 million over five years to protect the Floridan aquifer.

The Water for Agriculture project’s goal is to help stakeholders and decision makers understand changes needed to achieve agricultural water security and environmental protection.

“The project will ensure economic sustainability of agriculture and forestry in north Florida and south Georgia,” said UF Water Institute Director Wendy Graham. “The grant will also help us protect water quantity, quality and habitat in the underground Floridan Aquifer and the springs and rivers it feeds.”

The Floridan Aquifer provides drinking water for over 10 million people and supports multi-billion dollar agricultural industries.

Project investigators will conduct field experiments in Florida and Georgia to develop farming practices that reduce water use and fertilizer loss while still resulting in a profitable crop yield. A set of interactive computer models will be developed with input from farmers, foresters, springs and river advocates, water managers and other interested stakeholders in the region. The models will be used to predict impacts of different land-use, water use, and agricultural and forest production practices on water quantity, water quality and the economy of north Florida and south Georgia.

Faculty from the UF Water Institute, University of Georgia, Albany State University and Auburn University are collaborating on the project.

“The combination of expertise and experience that we are blending together from farmers to faculty, in disciplines ranging from engineering to anthropology, is a hallmark of the types of interdisciplinary projects that the Water Institute was formed to conduct,” Graham said.

Source: University of Florida

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