Research & demonstration project funding approved

More than $143,000 in grant fund requests for water-related research and demonstration projects were approved by the High Plains Underground Water Conservation District (HPWD) Board of Directors at their June 12 meeting in Lubbock.
 
“The five-member HPWD Board and its seven-member research and demonstration funding reviewed 16 proposals this year. These addressed a wide range of water-related subjects,” said Manager Jason Coleman.
 
The 11 projects approved for full or partial funding include: 

  • Edwards-Trinity Aquifer Investigation.
  • Plant Polymers for Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) Removal.
  • Xeric Landscape Installation at an Area Middle School.
  • Drought-Tolerant Corn Hybrids.
  • Water Quality Parameters for Recharge Wells.
  • Water Productivity of Aquaponics.
  • Lawn Irrigation Management Workshop.
  • Soil Health in Residential Landscapes.
  • Playa Field Days and Festivals.
  • Texas 4-H Water Ambassadors.
  • Rainwater Harvesting Tanks for a Local Community Garden.

  “The HPWD Board of Directors are pleased to support these educators and researchers as they work to improve crop production methods, educational efforts, and water use efficiency.  All of the approved projects are designed to help conserve and preserve groundwater resources for the future,” said Board President Lynn Tate of Amarillo.
 
Final reports and other information relating to previously-funded projects are available at www.hpwd.org/research.

Be sure to conserve water this Spring and Summer!

With temperatures exceeding 100 degrees in late May, many homeowners are actively watering their landscapes to keep plants and trees alive.

Did you know that outdoor water use can account for 50 to 80 percent of a home's total water use in the spring and summer?

Much of this water is often wasted by inefficient landscape watering practices, including runoff.
With this in mind, HPWD encourages people to incorporate water-efficient practices into their landscapes to avoid water waste.

▪Add water efficient plant varieties into your landscape.  These plants are native or well-adapted to climate conditions in your area. Additional information is available
at texastreeplanting.tamu.edu and texassuperstar.com

▪Reduce water evaporation by irrigating at proper times.  Evaporation losses can be 60 percent or higher during the day. You can reduce this by irrigating in early morning or late evening.  Be sure to follow your town or city landscape watering ordinances, if applicable.

▪Do not water landscapes on windy days. Wind drift and evaporation increase water losses.

▪Consider use of drip irrigation to water narrow parkway areas or reduce turf in those areas with water-wise plant varieties that can thrive on less water.

▪Position sprinklers to avoid irrigating driveways and sidewalks. Check spray patterns for variations caused by changes in water pressure.

▪"Don't pray for rain--unless you take care of what you get." That's a philosophy that HPWD staff share with persons attending the district's annual rainwater harvesting workshops. Consider rainwater harvesting to collect and store water from the next rain for future use in your landscape. Find more information at rainwaterharvesting.tamu.edu

▪Use mulch to retain soil moisture, reduce runoff, moderate soil temperature, and to slow weed growth.

▪Use a low-angle sprinkler that throws large drops of water—rather than one that sprays a fine mist of water that can evaporate quickly.

▪Homeowners with automatic sprinkler systems should regularly check spray nozzles to make sure they are operating properly.  Be sure to replace any broken sprinkler heads, valves, seals, or pipes.

▪Adjust the run time and frequency of automatic landscape sprinkler systems in response to changes in rainfall/temperature.

Remember -- "There's no substitute for water!  Use it wisely without waste!"

Timely rain helped reduce groundwater demand in 2017

Timely rainfall during the 2017 growing season helped reduce groundwater demand, according to data from the HPWD Irrigation Assessment Program.

Since the program's reinstatement in 2013, cooperating producers have volunteered to have their center pivot or subsurface drip irrigation system evaluated by HPWD staff. 

Data collected during the 2017 growing season are shown in the graphic at right. This was gathered from 580 wells at 113 irrigation system sites within the District's 16-county service area.

Water levels in wells are measured at the beginning and end of the growing season. In addition, flow rates of the wells/irrigation systems are checked with an ultrasonic flow meter. This service is provided by HPWD at no cost to willing participants.

The pumping hours, total gallons of water per minute, and the number of irrigated acres are calculated to determine the total acre-inches of groundwater applied during the growing season.  

Rainfall totals are determined through the use of  radar estimates from April to September. This gives an estimate of the total inches of water available for plant use.

Water samples are also collected as an extra service to those participating in the program. HPWD is able to check Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), chloride, and pH levels of groundwater. It is important to understand water chemistry since it impacts the efficient use of supplemental nutrients applied to crops.

This information is used to better understand the groundwater conditions in aquifers within the HPWD service area. 

For example, the 2017 program participants' well data revealed an average depth-to-water of 216 feet and an average flow rate of 110 gallons per minute. 

All data gathered from each site is shared with program participants. 

Several producers have said the data has helped them better understand their irrigation system's performance.