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WRC Leads a 5-year Research Effort for Improving Water Use Efficiency

A new 5 million dollar, five-year project led by the WRC and funded by the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Water for Food Production Systems Challenge Area will be working to identify promising emerging technologies and synergistic policies to improve technical and allocative water use efficiency in irrigated agriculture.

The research team, which includes scientists at the University of Idaho, University of Washington, Kansas State University, University of Utah, Mammoth Trading, Aspect Consulting, and a diverse group of water users and stakeholders in the Columbia River Basin.

Jonathan YoderThe project will focus on how seasonal water availability forecasting,  satellite-based consumptive use monitoring, and computer-based smart market technology can be used in conjunction with changes in water use and water transfer rules to improve water use.  “This exciting project will help find ways to improve water use efficiency in agriculture, by focusing on how technology, water rights and regulation work together to make the most of available water for all of its social and environmental values,” said Jonathan Yoder, Lead Investigator and Director of the WRC.

For more, visit the WRC’s webpage for this project, and the WSU press release.

In Idaho, a Model for Long-Term Groundwater Recharge Tastes Success

A huge aquifer in the heart of Idaho’s most important farming region had been overdrafted. We talk to Brian Patton from the Idaho Water Resource Board about how state tax revenues are building recharge facilities to restore the aquifer.

Last winter, the state of Idaho succeeded in recharging 317,000 acre-feet of water into an important aquifer, enough to serve 700,000 homes for a year. It was an important milestone in an ambitious program to restore a groundwater source that had been overtapped for decades.
The water source is the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer, a massive and complex groundwater source, which is also linked to springs that contribute to flows in the Snake River. A legal settlement among various water rights holders in 2015 compelled the state to begin replenishing the aquifer, which serves a variety of important constituents, including farms, cities and fish hatcheries.
With a large network of recharge facilities constructed already and more in the works, Idaho could be a model for other states struggling with groundwater depletion.

To read full article by Matt Weiser at News Deeply