Weekly Wave: USDA-NIFA Project Stakeholders Meet in Arizona
February 3, 2023
Water Resources Research Center,
February 3, 2023
On January 24, UArizona personnel hosted a project report on the Arizona component of the USDA-NIFA project, “Sustaining Groundwater and Irrigated Agriculture in the Southwestern United States Under a Changing Climate.” The University of Arizona is partnering with the University of California, Davis and others to conduct a five-year research project on creating modern sustainable irrigated agriculture systems, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). When farmers cannot rely on rain for their crops, as they cannot in Central Arizona, they turn to irrigated systems sourced from groundwater and rivers. However, major water resource issues are increasing for Arizona farmers as drought puts stress on water sources. The project, enabled through a USDA-NIFA grant that started in September 2021, brings together a talented team of interdisciplinary researchers. At the stakeholder meeting, information was shared on the project’s vision and scope from Lead Principal Investigators Isaya Kisekka (UC-Davis) and Sharon Megdal (UArizona). Research updates were provided by graduate research associate Simone Williams (UArizona), professor and soil health specialist Debankur Sanyal (UArizona), and agricultural engineer Kelly Thorp (USDA-ARS). Project Advisory Board members Ron Rayner (A Tumbling-T Ranches) and Bryan Hartman (Maricopa-Stanfield IDD) shared their perspectives on farming and water challenges. The meeting concluded with a Q&A. A recording of the meeting is available on the WRRC website.