Economic and policy drivers of agricultural water desalination in California’s central valley

Water desalination is a proposed solution for mitigating the effects of drought, soil salinization, and the ecological impacts of agricultural drainage. In this study, we assess the public and private costs and benefits of distributed desalination in the Central Valley (CV) of California. We...

Assessing Ecosystem Services and Multifunctionality for Vineyard Systems

Vineyards shape important economic, cultural, and ecological systems in many temperate biomes. Like other agricultural systems, they can be multifunctional landscapes that not only produce grapes, but also for example serve as wildlife habitat, sequester carbon, and are places of rich traditions...

NRI-USDA: RAPID

Robot-Assisted Precision Irrigation Delivery (RAPID) is a co-robotic approach using a team of humans and robots that move through farms fields, enabling farmers to adjust low-cost drip irrigation emitters at the plant level based on water use data and ground conditions. Deployment of this technology is aimed at increasing irrigation precision and plant yield. The project involves the design, development, and evaluation of a series of prototypes of low-cost, robust, co-robotic systems compatible with existing drip irrigation infrastructure in vineyards and orchards.

Economic Feasibility of Irrigated Agricultural Land Use Buffers to Reduce Groundwater Nitrate in Rural Drinking Water Sources

Agricultural irrigation leachate is often the largest source for aquifer recharge in semi-arid groundwater basins, but contamination from fertilizers and other agro-chemicals may degrade the quality of groundwater. Affected communities are frequently economically disadvantaged, and water supply...

Agriculture’s Contribution to Nitrate Contamination of Californian Groundwater (1945–2005)

Nitrogen (N) use in intensive agriculture can degrade groundwater resources. However, considerable time lags between groundwater recharge and extraction complicate source attribution and remedial responses. We construct a historic N mass balance of two agricultural regions of California to...

Human Impacts, Plant Invasion, and Imperiled Plant Species in California

Invasive species are one of the fastest growing conservation problems. These species homogenize the world's flora and fauna, threaten rare and endemic species, and impose large economic costs. Here, we examine the distribution of 834 of the more than 1000 exotic plant taxa that have become...

Agricultural water use accounting through water footprints

A water footprint (WF) is defined as the volume of water consumed to produce a good or render a service, calculated over the entire supply chain of the product. This project aims to produce an extensible, open-source software tool to calculate water footprints of agricultural activities across variable regions of interest. The tool will incorporate the wealth of environmental data available in California and establish methods that allow for application in novel regions. Informed water management is essential, as increasing pressures are placed on global freshwater supplies, and water footprints are one of many means that can assist with data-driven decision making.
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