Water management is the control and movement of water resources to minimize damage to life and property and to maximize efficient beneficial use. Good water management of dams and levees reduces the risk of harm due to flooding. Irrigation water management systems make the most efficient use of limited water supplies for agriculture. Drainage management involves water budgeting and analysis of sub-surface drainage systems. Sometimes water management involves changing practices, such as groundwater withdrawal rates, or allocation of water to different purposes.
This video highlights how the management of drainage water can reap environmental benefits to society as a whole and benefit producers that use the drainage water management conservation practice economically. Chief Dave White of the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service highlights how the partnership can affect these benefits for everyone by working together on the management of drainage water.
NRCS National Ag Water Management (AGWAM) Team
The Chief formed the National Ag Water Management (AGWAM) Team to assist states in the voluntary conservation efforts to reduce nitrates leaving the drained farmlands. The initial focus of this team is to address the intensively drained farmlands in the Upper Mississippi River Basin – Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Missouri, Minnesota, and Ohio. Since then the focus area has been expanded to include the Great Lakes Basin and the Red River Valley adding Michigan, Wisconsin, South Dakota and North Dakota. (Click here to see map)
Agriculture practices in this region have been identified as a major contributor to nutrient loading of receiving waters, including nutrient enrichment in the Gulf of Mexico and Great Lakes that leads to adverse environmental and economic consequences. This team will work in close collaboration with partners to develop and implement an action plan that helps producers voluntarily apply nutrient and water management practices to reduce nitrate loading in the Upper Mississippi River Basin and phosphorus loading in the Great Lakes Basin.
NRCS Phase I Team
On September 21, 2010, the Phase I Team was formed to provide recommendations for strategic actions the Natural Resources Conservation Service can take to increase successful producer adoption of Drainage Water Management (DWM) within the Mississippi River Basin Initiative (MRBI), especially in the Upper Mississippi. The team was charged with assessing the current use of the practice, identifying barriers to the adoption of DWM, determining and considering lessons learned through past experience, and developing strategic action recommendations that will increase adoption of DWM. To see the Final Report, click on this link.
NRCS Phase II Team – Ag Water Management (AGWAM) Team
The Phase II team’s charge is to increase the adoption of the management of agricultural drainage water management (DWM) for conservation benefits using the recommendations of the Phase I team. This is being carried out through a collaborative effort with our partners.
The AGWAM team is made up of technical and programmatic experts from across the agency. It includes National, Center and State staff members as well as advisors from the academic arena. The Executive sponsors of the team include the Central Regional Conservationist, the Deputy Chief for Science and Technology, Deputy Chief for Programs, and the Deputy Chief for Soil Survey and Resource Assessment. For a roster of team members click here.
An Action Plan has been developed to guide the team to achieving its goals and is available for review and comment. NRCS Ag Water Management Team Action Plan (MS Word, 231.89 KB) Click here to view. Comments should be e-mailed to Paul Sweeney.