Mississippi State University

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Assessment of evaporation rates of tailwater recovery and on-farm storage reservoirs to establish the potential use of these BMPs to reduce agricultural impacts to water quality while promoting surface water re-use in the Mississippi Alluvial Valley


Robert Kröger

Research Associate:  Joby Czarnecki

Issues of water resources in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV) are two-fold and relate to both water quality and water quantity. Tailwater recovery systems (TWR), an innovative best management practice (BMP), are a new tool in the struggle to protect Mississippi water resources in both regards. Tailwater recovery systems capture surface water in a recovery ditch and funnel recovered water to an on-farm storage reservoir. Re-lift pumps can then be used to re-use stored water for successive irrigation of agricultural fields. Tailwater recovery systems are, however, described to address both quality and quantity by the US Department of Agriculture National Resource Conservation Service under Practice Code 436. This is because in addition to conserving water via re-use, holding captured surface water in ditches and reservoirs have the potential to increase the time available for biogeochemical processes to reduce deleterious forms of nitrogen and phosphorus present in water and sediment flowing from agriculture fields.

The purpose of this study is to collect data on rates of evaporation from tailwater recovery and on-farm storage ponds. We wish to compare this data to existing information on evaporation rates to confirm that the rates are the same. The broader implications of this research are the impacts of water re-use over the long term. Potential problems with concentration of nutrients and salts need to be examined. We must determine how concentrations, which are a function of water volume, will be influenced by evaporation, as a first step towards understands the chemical dynamics at work in these systems.

Gulf of Mexico Research

Completed Projects