Studies generate ways to manage water scarcity

Research byland-grant universities and partners across the U.S. arehelping water policies and programs be more cost-effective and easier to implement.Nuanced data and realistic models show how technological, economic, environmental and social factors influence water use.Researchers project water supply for the continental U.S. for 10 different future climate scenarios, providing critical information for sustainable water management. Better data and models enable water users, managersand policymakers to weigh the costs and benefits of complex water supply decisions both objectively and accurately.For example, water-use projections guided policy in Georgia, and in Washington, a cost-benefit analysis of water use in the Yakima Basin was used extensively in legislative testimony and the popular press, influencing decisions on a major water management plan.Researchers monitored water quality across the U.S. and studiesshowed society may obtain as much as $9for every $1spent on restoring wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (North Dakota, South Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana).Scientists improved soil moisture sensors, estimated evapotranspiration ratesand released AquaCrop-OS, an open-source version of an important crop-water productivity model.Outreach showed farmers weather/climate data and models that can help them make water use decisions. Cost-effective ways were developed to manage agricultural water use, including options that work well for small farmers and Native American farmers.Researchers shed light on why and how farmers adopt tools and practices that conserve water or protect water quality. For example, studies showed that farmers’ decisions are influenced by nearby peers. Scientists also explored the environmental and economic benefits of using recycled water, which is usually saltier than freshwater. Acceptable salinity levels for crops such asavocados in Californiawere determined, and studies in Texasshowed that energy crops perform well irrigated with recycled municipal wastewater. Data and models helped resolve water conflicts and form agreements among competing water uses and communities, including those in bordering states or nations.Link to full statement on website: