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Development and sensitivity analysis of an online tool for evaluating drainage water recycling decisions

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

Citation:  Transactions of the ASABE. (in press). (doi: 10.13031/trans.13900) @2020
Authors:   B. D. Reinhart, J. R. Frankenberger, C. H. Hay, L. B. Bowling, B. G. Hancock
Keywords:   Drainage water recycling, Dual crop coefficient, Open-source model, Sensitivity analysis, Subsurface drainage, Supplemental irrigation


A modeling framework for drainage water recycling (DWR) was developed to estimate irrigation and water quality benefits.

Global sensitivity analysis was used to identify high- and low-influential input parameters affecting model outputs.

Parameters controlling total available water had the most influence on applied irrigation and captured tile drain flow.

The modeling framework and sensitivity results were used to develop an open-source, online tool for evaluating DWR.

Abstract. The U.S. Midwest is experiencing growth in both irrigation and subsurface (tile) drainage. Capturing, storing, and reusing tile drain water, a practice called drainage water recycling, represents a strategy for supporting supplemental irrigation while also reducing nutrient loads in tile-drained landscapes. This paper describes the development and testing of the open-source online tool, Evaluating Drainage Water Recycling Decisions (EDWRD), which integrates soil and reservoir water balances for a tile-drained field and estimates potential benefits of drainage water recycling systems across multiple reservoir sizes. Irrigation benefits are quantified by the amount of applied irrigation. Water quality benefits are quantified by the amount of tile drain flow that is captured by the reservoir. Global sensitivity analysis identified input parameters affecting total available water as the most influential factors in estimating outputs. Initial- and mid-season crop coefficients, irrigation management, and reservoir seepage rates were also influential. Curve number, fraction of wetted surface during irrigation, crop coefficients for the end of crop growth and frozen soil conditions, and the non-growing season residue amount were identified as low-sensitivity parameters. Results from the sensitivity analysis were used to prioritize and simplify user interaction with the tool. EDWRD represents the first open-source tool capable of evaluating drainage water recycling systems and can be used by multiple user groups to estimate the potential irrigation and water quality benefits of this innovative practice.

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