The Texas Alliance for Water Conservation (TAWC) mission is to conserve water for future generations by collaborating to identify those agricultural production practices and technologies that, when integrated across farms and landscapes, will reduce the depletion of ground water while maintaining or improving agricultural production and economic opportunities.
Unique to the TAWC project is a partnership of area producers, data collection technologies, and collaborating partners that includes industries, universities, and government agencies. The project uses on-farm demonstrations of cropping and livestock systems to compare the production practices, technologies, and systems that can maintain individual farm profitability while improving water use efficiency with a goal of extending the life of the Ogallala Aquifer while maintaining the viability of local farms and communities.
As described below, each member of the alliance has a important role in the research and development of our project sites.
All production-related decisions are made by the more than 20 producers involved in the project. The project field sites involve more than 6,000 acres throught the counties of Floyd, Hale, Lamb, Lubbock, Crosby, Parmer, Swisher and Deaf Smith. These sites represent the range of agricultural practices including monoculture cropping systems; crop rotations; no-till, limited-till and conventional tillage practices; land application of manure; and fully integrated crop and livestock systems.
Data Analysis & Technology Transfer
The project sites are being intensely monitored for water use, soil moisture depletion, crop productivity, and economic return. Each site is equipped with instruments to determine total water applied from the aquifer, solar radiation, temperature, rainfall, timing and amount of irrigation events, and soil moisture. Integrated central processing controller equipment is being utilized to record, store, and transmit all data to a single database accessible to project participants.
Risk management specialists with Texas A&M AgriLife Extension analyze data gathered from producers' field records to calculate economic return from irrigation.
Data gathered over the past 9 years of the TAWC Project has been used to develop online tools producers can use to enhance their irrigation management. These tools are found at www.tawcsolutions.org and are described below.
Irrigation Scheduling Tool
The TAWC Solutions Irrigation Scheduling Tool is intended as an aid to producers in determining a more refined irrigation schedule. This program utilizes weather information collected from the Texas Tech Mesonet along with specific producer input information to automatically calculate and update the soil water balance for a specific crop based on information provided by the user. Some key inputs include: crop type, planting date, site rainfall, irrigation, and other environmental and producer information.
This provides a checkbook-style water balance register with which a producer can determine when and how much water to apply for an irrigation event based on tracking of the soil water balance available to the crop at any given growth stage during the growing season.
Resource Allocation Analyzer
The TAWC Solutions Water Allocation Tool is an economic-based decision aid, which utilizes economic variables provided by an individual agricultural producer to estimate options for cropping systems which maximize per acre profits, whether at field or farm level. Utilizing information such as expected commodity prices, water availability, and enterprise options, irrigated agricultural producers can view cropping options which maximize their net returns per acre while accounting for irrigation demands and revenue potential. This user friendly aid is designed to provide the agronomic planning options to maintain profitability and sustainability in irrigated row-crop agriculture.