- develop a range of anticipated climate and land use scenarios for the southeastern U.S.
- couple a suite of physically-based, spatially-distributed hydrodynamic and biogeophysical models
- use the scenarios, coupled models and field trials conducted at University of Tennessee AgResearch and Education Centers to test the effects of adaptive farm management practices (AMPs) on watershed-scale hydrology
- determine how changes in water availability affect farmer willingness to adopt AMPs, farm profitability and rural economies.
The project is officially titled “Increasing the Resilience of Agricultural Production in the Tennessee and Cumberland River Basins Through More Efficient Water Resource Use," and was funded through USDA’s Water for Agriculture initiative. In addition to UTIA’s Walker, other project scientists and their responsibilities in this project include Thanos Papanicolaou, UT Knoxville engineering professor who will lead the hydrological modeling group; Song Cui and Warren Gill of Middle Tennessee State University, who will oversee undergraduate education efforts in Middle Tennessee; Paula Gale and Greg Nail, faculty with UT Martin who will lead undergraduate education efforts in West Tennessee; Alfred Kalyanapu of Tennessee Technological University who will guide the flood prediction modeling efforts for the Tennessee and Cumberland River basins; and Brian Waldron of the University of Memphis, who will lead efforts to predict changes to groundwater water with the expected increase in irrigation intensity in West Tennessee.
UTIA researchers and Extension specialists are also working on a related USDA project documenting the actual water needs for agricultural enterprises in Tennessee, including dairy operations and plant nurseries. Led by Chris Clark, an agricultural and natural resource economist, the three-year, $644,000 effort also involves a broad range of specialists including Shawn Hawkins, an animal waste management expert with the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, and UT Extension nursery crops specialist Amy Fulcher. Their focus is on developing recommendations to improve the water use efficiency of water-intense operations.