Water conservation and quality go hand in hand. Best outcomes of improved water quality can only be accomplished by efficient water management practices that also result in water conservation. Our lab provides outreach services with objectives to (1) increase water conservation and (2) enhance water quality in urban and agricultural settings through the implementation of realistic and research-based best water management practices that integrate science and smart technologies. Our group's extension program contributes to the 2013-2023 UF/IFAS Extension Road Map Super Issues: 1) the awareness and appreciation of our food systems and our environment and 2) the sustainability and conservation of resources in our Florida communities. In addition, the program directly addresses the High-priority Initiatives #1) Increasing the sustainability, profitability, and competitiveness of agricultural and horticultural enterprises, #2) Enhancing and protecting water quality, quantity, and supply, and #3) Enhancing and conserving Florida’s natural resources and environmental quality.
Program: Agriculture and Urban Water Best Management Practices for Water Conservation and Quality
Situation: While the development of smart irrigation technologies has resulted in significant water savings, more efficient technologies are still needed that allow much more water savings while at the same time ensuring optimal plant growth. Even in areas where the availability of freshwater is optimal, efficient water uses is critical to minimize water losses and pollution of water bodies due to the transportation of nutrients and other wastes because of excess application of irrigation water. This could be achieved by developing new water management practices. However, developing new and efficient water management technologies may not be the only and complete solution and thus, efforts need also to be exerted to revise, improve, and redesign existing technologies. For any new or existing technology to be sustainable, it should be evaluated not only for its effectiveness to bring the intended benefits or changes but also with respect to its associated costs and adaptability by the end-users.
Program Objectives: The overarching goals of the extension program are to increase water conservation and enhance water quality in urban and agricultural settings through the implementation of realistic and research-based best water management practices that integrate science and smart technologies. Specifically, our program aims to increase water conservation and water quality through the increased adoption of smart irrigation practices by agricultural and urban water users.