This tool provides an estimate of the potential benefits that result from capturing drained agricultural water in various sizes of water storage reservoirs (e.g. pond, reservoir, storage tank, etc.) for reuse as irrigation, a practiced referred to as drainage water recycling. The benefits of drainage water recycling include (1) supplemental crop irrigation from the captured water, and (2) reduction of the discharge of nutrient-rich drainage water into downstream water bodies. See Questions and Answers About Drainage Water Recycling for the Midwest for more information on this practice.
The tool Evaluating Drainage Water Recycling Decisions (EDWRD) can be used by a variety of users to answer a range of different questions, for example:
- Farmers may use EDWRD to evaluate how large of an on-farm water reservoir they would need to provide a target level of irrigation.
- Drainage contractors and engineers can use it to get initial approximations of the size of reservoir needed to store a certain amount of drained water from agricultural areas.
- Researchers may use it to evaluate the potential for irrigation and nutrient reduction benefits at specific experimental sites using measured drain flow and climate data.
- Conservation planners and crop consultants can use it to quickly explore opportunities with farmers and landowners to improve crop production and enhance conservation benefits across a range of fields in their operations.
- Policy makers and analysts may use the Regional Analysis Tool to evaluate the potential impact, or areas of greatest opportunity for, new or pilot conservation programs focused on implementing agricultural best management practices.