USDA NIFA Ag Groundwater Project


USDA NIFA Ag Groundwater Project

Sustaining Groundwater and Irrigated Agriculture in The Southwestern United States Under a Changing Climate

Enabled through a 5-year USDA-NIFA Grant starting in September 2021, interdisciplinary researchers, extension specialists, and graduate students at four universities, along with the USDA, will collaborate to examine ways to sustain irrigated agriculture in the Southwestern United States (SW US). The Agricultural Water Center has been established at UC Davis.

Photo: Sharon B. Megdal

    uc davis ag water ctr
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    Project Objectives

    1. Alleviating groundwater overdraft and water quality trends in CA, central AZ, & NM
    2. Develop decision support tools for sustainable irrigated agriculture
    3. Assessing climate vulnerability in alfalfa and cotton (specifically for AZ in Pinal County)
    4. Field assessment for soil health status and modeling
    5. Conduct Grower Education Clinics (GECs) and other outreach activities

    Arizona Activities

    1. Modeling the impact of irrigated agriculture on water quality (e.g., nitrate and salinity)
    2. Soil health assessment on farms adopting sustainable practices (e.g., cover crops)
    3. Consideration of future scenarios affecting water availability and sustainable measures
    4. Stakeholder engagement and research outreach through field days, webinars, and information exchange

    January 24, 2023 Project Report

    On January 24, UArizona personnel hosted a project report on the Arizona component of the USDA-NIFA project, “Sustaining Groundwater and Irrigated Agriculture in the Southwestern United States Under a Changing Climate.” The University of Arizona is partnering with the University of California, Davis and others to conduct a five-year research project on creating modern sustainable irrigated agriculture systems, funded by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).

    Event Page Featuring Video and PPT

    Project Personnel at The University of Arizona

    sharon b megdal

    Dr. Sharon B. Megdal
    Director, WRRC

    Debankur Sanyal

    Dr. Debankur Sanyal
    Soil Health Specialist

    simone william

    Ms. Simone Williams
    Grad Research Assoc.


    For more information and to be placed on our contact list for future meetings and materials, please contact Debankur Sanyal ( or Sharon Megdal ( and visit