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Wetland -Reservoir System Improves Water Quality and Crop Production

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  032327,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.13836) @2003
Authors:   C. S. Tan, C. F. Drury, T. Q. Zhang, W. D. Reynolds, J. D. Gaynor

In a wetland-reservoir system, tile drainage water and surface runoff water from agricultural fields are routed into a wetland reservoir, rather than into open-ended streams and drainage ditches. The collected water is then recycled back through a controlled drainage-subsurface irrigation system to provide subsurface irrigation during times of crop water deficit. The wetland reservoir provides wildlife habitat and serves as a sink to prevent off-site movement (loss) of water and sediments, and also provides a means for intercepting and recycling agricultural nutrients and chemicals via return irrigation. As a result, precipitation water is used more efficiently, and the discharge of agricultural sediments and chemicals into off-site surface and ground water resources is reduced substantially. The controlled drainage/sub-irrigation system (CDS) reduced flow weighted mean nitrate concentration in tile drainage water by 14 %, and total nitrate loss by 27 % compared to the free drainage system (DR). The CDS system reduced dissolved organic and dissolved inorganic phosphorus losses in tile drainage water by 47 % and 54 %, respectively, relative to the DR system. The water from the reservoir was used for subsurface irrigation of grain corn and soybean during the droughty growing seasons of 2001 and 2002. It was found that the CDS system increased corn grain yield in 2001 by 91 %, and soybean yield in 2002 by 49 % relative to the DR system. Thus, the CDS system combined with wetland-reservoir can be highly effective for improving crop yield and reducing non-point source pollution from agricultural fields.

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