Farms Replenishing Groundwater
Irrigated agriculture is often targeted when water supplies become scarce as they have this year. But farmland could actually become part of the solution to replenishing our groundwater resources when outside of the growing season. Researchers at UC Davis have developed a tool to assess opportunities for groundwater recharge. Associate professor Dr. Helen Dahlke is one of those researchers.
Dahlke… “Soil suitability is one big criteria. So you want to make sure your soil has high infiltration rates, the water is seeping into the ground very quickly. We've actually developed a decision support tool, a web tool, that can guide you on soil suitability. Which you can find at Googling SAGBI, which stands for soil agricultural groundwater banking index. A tool that was developed by my colleague, Toby O'Geen.”
Dahlke says groundwater recharge can even be successful on farm ground with perennial crops if timed correctly.
Dahlke… “If you have perennial crops planted on your field, then you may want to look into only doing recharge during crop dormancy, because there is definitely a risk, particularly if you have long flooded conditions. So you have waterlogged conditions for several days, if not weeks, actively growing crops can definitely be damaged.”
Google SAGBI to learn more.