Couldn’t make it to Irrigation Show this year? We’ve got you covered. Growing is on the ground, covering everything you need to know at the show. At the end of each day, we curate the top moments from the busy day’s events — from announcements at press conferences to inspiring advice and interesting facts from educational sessions. Here are the top takeaways from the Drought Summit on Friday, Dec. 9.

2016 drought summit

Pat Mulroy

Pat Mulroy from the University of Nevada School of Law gave the opening address at the second annual Drought Summit at the Irrigation Show in Las Vegas. She touched on the need to adapt to irrigation conditions.

“We need to adapt to conditions as they are on the ground,” Mulroy said.

With the enormous population boom we’re expecting in the future, “the amount of food production has to go up 50 percent to feed the population.”

Mulroy said that everything has a water footprint and everyone should be conscious of how we use and save water.

“Change has to occur at all fronts, even the federal level,” she said. “There has to be a new common ground.”

2016 drought summit

Tim Parker

Tim Parker of Parker Groundwater was the first presenter at the Drought Summit. His presentation, titled Aquifer Storage and Recovery, was about natural groundwater recharge and managed aquifer recharge (MAR) technology. Natural groundwater recharge is the predominant source of groundwater replenishment in almost all groundwater basins, according to Parker.

For agriculture, Parker mentioned a new strategy for MAR technology that involves applying water to agricultural lands outside of the usual irrigation session for the specific purpose of recharging a groundwater basin.

“Using agricultural lands as percolation basins has the potential to increase groundwater discharge during wet periods when surface water is available,” Parker said.

Parker noted five factors that determine feasibility groundwater recharge on agricultural lands:

  1. Deep percolation: soils must be readily able to transmit water beyond the root zone
  2. Root zone residence time: the duration of saturated/near saturated conditions after water application must be acceptable for the crops grown on lands under consideration for groundwater banking throughout the entire crop root zone
  3. Topography: slopes that negatively influence the even distribution of water will be more difficult to manage
  4. Chemical limitations: high soil salinity may result in saline leachate, or poor water quality, that must be avoided to protect groundwater quality
  5. Soil surface condition: certain soils may be susceptible to compaction and erosion if large volumes of water are applied. Surface horizons with high sodium are prone to crusting that may contribute to decreased surface infiltration rates.

The 2016 Irrigation Show was a huge success, bringing in thousands of attendees to Las Vegas. The 2017 Irrigation Show is planned to take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, Nov. 6-10. Drought is a key issue in today’s world and growers need to keep it in mind at all times. With the proper planning, it’s possible to help protect the earth’s water supply.