2018 Symposium

2018graphic

Highlights:

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  • Oral titles and abstracts are posted below. Click "+" to view the presenter's abstract.
  • The draft agenda contains information about all the conference sessions.
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Wednesday, 12/5 (10:30-12:00): Poster Session

Twenty-nine OSU and OU students and four professionals (from OSU, OU, USGS) will present posters covering an impressive range of important water issues. Be sure to catch their 1-minute intros at the start of the session, then visit them at their posters to get more information about their cutting-edge research. Click here to see the titles of the posters.

Wednesday, 12/5 (1:30-3:00): Drought Monitoring & Management
(Moderator: Jonna Polk, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service)

  • Jad Ziolkowski, Associate Professor, Geography & Environmental Sustainability at OU
    Impact of Rainfall Variability on Surface and Groundwater Resources in Oklahoma
    • In this paper we evaluate geospatial rainfall variability and its direct impacts on soil moisture conditions and groundwater levels in all Oklahoma climate regions since 2003. The analysis is based on the data from the USGS, the Drought Mitigation Center, NOAA, National Weather Service Quantitative Precipitation Estimates (QPE), and the Oklahoma Mesonet. The results can be helpful to better understand and predict drought conditions as well as surface water and groundwater availability for different sectors and uses, especially for the agricultural production in the state."
  • Jeffrey Basara, Associate Professor, School of Meteorology, OU
    New Insights into Increased Seasonal to Interannual Water Cycle Variability Across the Great Plains
    • The Great Plains (GP) of North America is characterized by orthogonal gradients of temperature and precipitation extending from the Gulf of Mexico in the south to the coniferous forests of Canada to the north and are bordered on the west by the Rocky Mountains and then spread east approximately 1000 km into the interior regions of North America. The drivers of excessive precipitation were analyzed with the results demonstrating that pluvial years over the GP are likely driven by synoptic scale processes rather than by anomalous seasonal precipitation driven by longer timescale features. With a better understanding of the causes of GP precipitation variability, the threat of water scarcity can be better managed for the public and agricultural sectors.
  • Jordan Christian, Graduate Student, School of Meteorology, OU
    Flash Droughts Across the Southern Great Plains
    • Flash droughts are extreme events characterized by the rapid onset and development of drought conditions. The impact of flash drought in agricultural regions can be devastating, as rapid depletion of root zone soil moisture and increasing moisture stress adversely affect vegetation health and can lead to significant yield loss. This study presents a climatological analysis of flash drought frequency and intensity with a specific focus over the Southern Great Plains using the North American Regional Reanalysis (NARR) dataset. In addition, flash drought events from the NARR dataset spanning from 1979-2016 were compiled and used to quantify flash drought characteristics for the Southern Great Plains region.
  • Ryann Wakefield, Graduate Student, School of Meteorology, OU
    Application of Land-Atmosphere Coupling Metrics to Better Understand Flash Drought Evolution and Intensification
    • This study focused on the use of land-atmosphere coupling metrics to quantify the evolution of land-atmosphere interactions preceding and accompanying the onset of flash drought in the Southern Great Plains of North America. During periods of decreasing soil moisture strong covariability between soil moisture trends and atmospheric humidity was observed in Oklahoma. This study will discuss the impacts of both non-local and local atmospheric and land surface conditions on the evolution of flash drought cases through the lens of land atmosphere interactions to provide critical insight into the predictability of flash drought.
  • Ali Ajaz, Graduate Student, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, OSU
    Development and evaluation of a new agricultural drought index using Mesonet soil and weather data
    • A new agricultural drought index based on daily soil moisture and evapotranspiration data was developed to study droughts in Oklahoma. This index, named the Soil Moisture Evapotranspiration Index (SMEI), follows a simple computational process to quantify the drought magnitude by using readily available Mesonet data. A two-step calculation approach is used for estimating the SMEI. First, the difference between the aggregated soil water at root zone and reference evapotranspiration is calculated on monthly basis. The results showed that SMEI was in good agreement with USDM (both temporally and spatially) and with other drought indices for short and long-term drought events.
  • Ali Mirchi, Assistant Professor, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, OSU
    Water Resources Modeling to Inform Adaptive Water Management in the Middle Rio Grande Basin
    • This presentation will provide an overview of water sustainability challenges in the semi-arid New Mexico-Texas-Chihuahua region, including the status of surface water and groundwater resources and water and land management practices to cope with water scarcity. The presentation will also focus on the application of Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) under a range of climate projection scenarios that represent extreme water scarcity. In order to obtain meaningful watershed simulation results in this arid/semi-arid watershed, it is critical to calibrate the model to reproduce regional hydrologic conditions and management practices that govern the availability and flow of water in the system. Results facilitate quantitative analysis of key components of the regional water budget, including streamflow, evapotranspiration, and groundwater recharge. In particular, the ramifications of extreme surface water scarcity are evaluated at the request of agricultural stakeholders in the Elephant Butte Irrigation District, New Mexico.

Thursday, 12/6 (10:00-11:30): Irrigation Management
& Soil Moisture Monitoring

(Moderator: Kevin Wagner, Oklahoma Water Resources Center)

  • Briana Wyatt, Graduate Student, Plant and Soil Sciences at OSU
    Estimating root zone soil moisture under various land cover types
    • Soil moisture is an essential climate variable affecting near-surface temperature, hydrological processes, agricultural production, and health of ecological systems. However, the majority of soil moisture data currently available from in-situ monitoring networks reflect conditions only under a single land cover type, typically grassland, and soil water conditions under contrasting land cover types often differ significantly from one another. To estimate soil moisture under various land cover types, we combine vegetation index data from NASA'S MODIS sensors and ground-based meteorological data into a water balance model based on the FAO-56 Penman-Monteith method. Model estimates are verified by soil moisture measurements under a number of cover types.
  • Mukesh Mehata, Graduate Student, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at OSU
    Use of a Computer Model to Simulate Soil Moisture Content in Irrigated Fields
    • Effective irrigation management strategies at field scale can improve producer's profitability and can play a crucial role in conserving limited freshwater resources and reducing environmental contamination. To implement an efficient management strategy in irrigated fields, soil moisture status must be carefully monitored throughout the growing season. However, obtaining information about soil moisture can be expensive, time-consuming and labor-intensive. Numerical models (e.g., HYDRUS-1D) can be used to simulate the soil moisture accurately once that model is validated. This study implemented the computer model HYDRUS-1D in simulating soil moisture dynamics at four depths below the soil surface (10, 30, 51, and 71 cm) at irrigated fields in central Oklahoma. The performance of HYDRUS-1D was evaluated through comparing simulated soil water content with the same values obtained by in-situ soil moisture sensors installed at the same fields and depths. The accuracy of the soil moisture sensor was also determined for the specific conditions of the study area. The results will provide valuable information on the performance of the implemented computer model in predicting soil moisture dynamics under variable irrigation applications.
  • Sumon Datta, Graduate Student, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at OSU
    Irrigation Water Fluxes in the Fort Cobb Reservoir Experimental Watershed
    • Agricultural production in the Fort Cobb Reservoir Experimental Watershed (FCREW) has been primarily driven by center-pivot irrigation systems withdrawing water from the Rush Spring aquifer. Because of predominant coarse- and medium-textured, highly erodible soils in the area, irrigation return flows may convey applied chemicals (nutrients, pesticides, etc.) to downstream land and water resources if irrigation practices and management are suboptimal. In addition, sediment loading may impair water quality in surface water reservoirs. Therefore, a study was undertaken using sensor technologies and modeling approaches to quantify irrigation water fluxes at field scale and to assess if irrigation applications are efficient. The results will help producers and decision makers with finding best management practices to conserve water resources quantity and quality in the FCREW.
  • Karthik Ramaswamy, Graduate Student, Agricultural Economics at OSU
    Economics of Cooperative Irrigation District in Oklahoma Panhandle
    • The project will estimate the benefits and cost from use of the remaining groundwater in Oklahoma Panhandle when multiple producers compete for a common groundwater source. The major irrigated crops in the Oklahoma Panhandle area (OPA) are corn, sorghum, and winter wheat. Irrigated corn gives greater net returns than sorghum when well capacities are above 5 GPM per acre, but irrigated sorghum gives greater net returns than corn if well capacities decline below 5 GPM per acre. Completed studies show that it is more profitable to follow a long-term profit maximizing strategy by replacing irrigated corn with grain sorghum (uses less water) and conventional pivot irrigation with subsurface drip (SDI) when well capacity declines below 5 GPM per acre. Past conservation efforts to slow down the aquifer decline and establish the economic viability of the region have been mostly unsuccessful.
  • Christopher Reid, Graduate Student, Horticulture and Landscape Architechture at OSU
    Effects of deficit irrigation on water use of warm season turfgrasses under fairway maintenance
    • Golf is a popular sport in Oklahoma, in the larger United States, and across the world. In the transition zone, of which Oklahoma is a part, the average amount of water used per irrigated acre is 12.8 inches and 38% of those acres are fairways. It is estimated that 25% of 18-hole golf courses are subject to recurring annual water allocations. This research will contribute towards a better understanding of water use rates of warm season turfgrasses under drought stress and lead to improved recommendations for deficit irrigation practices. Further, the study will identify turfgrass cultivars showing superior drought resistance and adaption to the dry Oklahoma summers. Ultimately, increased use of deficit irrigation programs and well-adapted cultivars will result in less water used for golf and similar turfgrass sites.
  • Lzbeth Pena-Zuniga, Graduate Student, Entomology and Plant Pathology at OSU
    A novel method for multiple water-borne plant virus detection combining Deep sequencing and Bioinformatics.
    • Agriculture production is affected by viral infections in the US and water-borne viruses have been reported to infect crop production worldwide. Early viral infections may not be diagnosed until symptoms develop. Currently, single-virus serological and molecular assays are routinely used for pathogen detection. Therefore, a single multiple detection method is needed. Deep sequencing can be used as a diagnostic tool because its ability to amplify multiple unique RNA-DNA signatures of viruses infecting plants. We developed an Electronic probe Diagnostic Nucleic acid Analysis (EDNA) for detection of water-borne viruses in simulated metagenomics runs containing reference positive controls and host genomes. Tree virus genera: Potexvirus, Tombusvirus and Tobamovirus, previously reported plants water-borne viruses were used as a model for detection.

Thursday, 12/6 (1:00-2:30): Groundwater Availability
(Moderator: Owen Mills, Oklahoma Water Resources Board)

  • Jon Sanford, Water Resources Geologist, Oklahoma Water Resources Board
    Hydrologic Investigation of the Ogallala-Roger Mills Aquifer in West-Central Oklahoma
    • The Ogallala-Roger Mills aquifer covers approximately 385 square miles of Roger Mills County in west-central Oklahoma. It is regionally part of the High Plains aquifer which underlies portions of 8 states in the central United States. The Ogallala-Roger Mills aquifer consists of Tertiary-age semi-consolidated sediments of the Ogallala Formation that unconformably overlie Permian-age formations. The purpose of this study is to produce a comprehensive hydrologic study that will be used for regional groundwater planning. Analysis includes the aquifer extent, hydrogeology, hydraulic properties, streamflow, water use, and water quality of the aquifer. This report provides information that can be used by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) to determine the maximum annual yield of groundwater and equal proportionate share for the aquifer.
  • John Ellis, Hydrologist, U.S. Geological Survey
    Results from the Rush Springs Aquifer Study: Simulation of Groundwater Flow and Analysis of Projected Water Use
    • The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Bureau of Reclamation and the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, (1) quantified the groundwater resources of the Rush Springs aquifer in western Oklahoma by developing a numerical groundwater-flow model, (2) evaluated the effects of estimated equal proportionate share (EPS) pumping rates on aquifer storage and streamflow for time periods of 20, 40, and 50 years into the future, (3) assessed the uncertainty in the EPS scenario results, and (4) evaluated the effects of (a) projected groundwater-use rates extended 50 years into the future and (b) sustained hypothetical drought conditions over a 10-year period on stream base flow and groundwater in storage. A numerical groundwater-flow model of the Rush Springs aquifer was constructed by using MODFLOW with the Newton solver. Projected 50-year pumping scenarios were used to simulate the effects of selected well withdrawal rates on groundwater storage of the Rush Springs aquifer.
  • Derrick Wagner, Water Resources Geologist, Oklahoma Water Resources Board
    Hydrologic Investigation Report of the Rush Springs Aquifer in West-Central Oklahoma, 2015
    • The Oklahoma Water Resources Board (OWRB) conducts hydrologic investigations and surveys of the state's groundwater basins as mandated by the State of Oklahoma to determine maximum annual yield and equal proportionate share. This study details the findings of the Rush Springs hydrologic investigation and provides information for constructing a groundwater-flow model to allow the OWRB to simulate various management scenarios. Long-term annual water-level measurements typically correspond to dry and wet cycles.
  • Byron Waltman, Water Resources Geologist, Oklahoma Water Resources Board
    Hydrologic Investigation of the Gerty Sand aquifer
    • The primary purpose of this study is to provide an update to the 1987 maximum annual yield report for the Oklahoma Water Resources Board, including updates to the geology, aquifer boundary, and aquifer properties. The maximum annual yield of the Gerty Sand aquifer was set by the OWRB in 1989 at 12,800 acre-feet per year and the equal proportionate share is 0.65 acre-feet per acre. The study area for this report was expanded to include nearby alluvium and terrace deposits not included in the previous investigation.
  • Guy Sewell, Professor, The Oka' Institute/ECU
    Enhanced Aquifer Recharge Demonstration Project
    • The impact of the activities of man on the landscape, have altered the discharge profiles of most river basins. Surface water and ground water withdrawals can reduce the baseflow contributions during times of scarcity. An approach for addressing the need for increasing water resource availability and baseflow, is enhanced aquifer recharge (EAR). This process offers the opportunity to alter the storm flow/base flow balance and provide additional resources, particularly when seasonal or periodic demands increase, and availability decreases. The City of Ada has formed a research team to conduct a limited Scale Aquifer Storage and Recovery (LS-ASR) project to demonstration the EAR concept in the Arbuckle Simpson Aquifer. The goal of the pilot project is to create an additional 1100 ac-ft of recharge, from storm flow, that will supplement spring discharge and base flow. The project will provide additional water to down-stream users and basin ecosystems during times of seasonal scarcity and/or drought.
  • Alexander Hess, Graduate Student, University of Tulsa
    Utilizing native isopods to assess the connectivity and quality of Oklahoma groundwater
    • Accurately mapping the distribution and connectivity of groundwater and its relationship to surface flow is critical for resource management and conservation. The Ozark aquifer system occurs in parts of four states and is subject to range-wide extraction. Therefore aquifer border delimitation is essential for measurements of rates of recharge and sustainable withdrawal limits. Many studies have suggested subterranean organisms have a poor capacity for dispersal through groundwater systems. This results in frequent speciation when habitat is fragmented and connectivity is disrupted. This study utilizes native groundwater isopod distributions as a method to delineate watershed boundaries, as a tool to identify surface-groundwater interactions, and as a possible indicator of water quality. Continued monitoring of isopod species composition and density could serve as an indicator of changing groundwater quality.

Thursday, 12/6 (2:45-4:15): Water Use & Management
(Moderator: Ali Mirchi, Oklahoma State University)

  • Robert Nairn, Professor, School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at OU
    A Decade of Successful Ecotoxic Metal Retention in Ecologically Engineered Passive Treatment Systems
    • In the mid-1980s, surface water impacts at the Tar Creek Superfund Site, the Oklahoma portion of the historic Tri-State Lead-Zinc Mining District, were deemed due to "irreversible man-made damages". The University of Oklahoma Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds (CREW) designed and installed two full-scale, ecologically engineered mine water passive treatment systems (PTS) to address some of these contaminated waters. Although considerable water quality improvement has occurred in the first-order unnamed tributary into which these PTS discharge, additional artesian discharges and substantial tailings pile and pond runoff still pollute the main stem of Tar Creek. Based on recent data generated in larger watershed-scale monitoring efforts, properly designed, constructed and maintained ecologically-engineered passive treatment systems would successfully decrease metals concentrations and mass loading inputs to surface waters throughout the Tri-State Mining District.
  • Sean Hussey, Graduate Student, Geology at OSU
    Initial piezometric conditions of the Arbuckle Group disposal zone
    • Literature has historically described the Arbuckle Group as being an underpressured reservoir. The high permeability of the formation and large storage capability resulted in it becoming the largest volume disposal zone in the world. This was both economically and environmentally beneficial as high volumes of mid-continent oil and gas production and fluid disposal within the Arbuckle Group reservoir coincided. In 2009, increases of induced seismicity events caused increased scrutiny of the hydrogeology of this reservoir. Initial potentiometric data for formations are critical for analyzing and managing pressure changes that may results in migration of injection fluids causing shallow impacts or inducing seismicity.
  • Kyle Murray, Hydrogeologist, Oklahoma Geological Survey at OU
    Potable Water Reuse System: Examining Constituents of Emerging Concern, Advanced Treatment, and Reclamation Options
    • Depleted water supplies can be augmented by reuse of wastewater effluent. An indirect potable reuse (IPR) system involves transferring effluent to an environmental buffer before delivering water to customers. Micropollutants or constituents of emerging concern (CEC) are major concerns for all IPR or DPR water reuse projects. The University of Oklahoma has partnered with the City of Norman, the Central Oklahoma Master Conservancy District (COMCD), and others to examine a potential IPR project that involves transferring treated effluent from the Norman Water Reclamation Facility (NWRF) to Dave Blue Creek, which flows into Lake Thunderbird. The pilot-scale system would test ozone, chemical oxidation and other advanced oxidation processes along with bio- and other filtration technologies while monitoring the water treatment process at multiple locations.
  • Ronald Miller, Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering at OSU
    The Oklahoma NSF-EPSCoR Socio-Ecological Modeling in the Kiamichi Watershed
    • The latest OK NSF-EPSCoR research project was an effort designed to explore how Oklahomans adapt sustainably to increased climate variability. This project integrated multi-disciplinary researches to fill knowledge gaps and foster collaborations to better understand present and future states of socio-ecological issues in Oklahoma. One aspect of this issue was to select several representative watersheds within Oklahoma for intensive study. The watersheds occupy several principal environmental zones with several key economic activities including ranching, dryland and irrigated farming, and timber operations. This presentation focuses on the socio-ecological modeling of the Kiamichi watershed, and its interactions with other watersheds.
  • Thomas Neeson, Geography and Environmental Sustainability at OU
    Balancing societal water needs and ecosystem outcomes using conservation incentives in the Red River
    • Water managers in the Red River basin face the challenge of apportioning scarce water resources among societal users and environmental flows for aquatic ecosystems. We present a spatial planning framework for allocating water conservation incentives to balance outcomes for freshwater ecosystems and societal water users. Our work builds on recent high-resolution modeling of climate, hydrology, and water demand across the basin under near-present and future scenarios. We highlight locations that remain high priorities for ecosystem and water conservation across multiple future scenarios of climate and water availability. We conclude by summarizing ongoing work to enhance our spatial planning framework by accounting for the coupled dynamics of water users, state and NGO conservation actors, and freshwater ecosystems in the context of incentive-based water conservation policies.
  • Chris Eck and Kevin Wagner, Director, Oklahoma Water Resources Center
    Oklahomans’ perspectives on water issues
    • In 2008, the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service facilitated a statewide random sample survey of Oklahomans to evaluate citizen awareness, attitudes and willingness to act on water issues. This fall, the survey was re-issued by the Oklahoma Water Resources Center to a random sample of Oklahomans. Almost 400 surveys were returned representing a 23% response rate. We will present preliminary results of the 2018 survey, examine changes from 2008 to 2018, and discuss implications of the survey results to agency and university programs.