Call for Participants: USDA-Funded Study Seeks to Enroll California Farmers for a Study on Alternative Irrigation Water Use

Duke University (Duke) is leading a three year study in partnership with RTI International (RTI), Pacific Institute, and California State University in Bakersfield (CSU-B) to study the use of oilfield produced water as an alternative irrigation water source for crop irrigation. The study is funded by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and began in May 2017.  
 
Please contact us if you would like to be included as a participant in our study to optimize safe, sustainable use of alternative irrigation water sources for crop irrigation. We would like to enroll conventional and organic farmers that have used some oilfield produced water for at least two years, as well as farmers who use traditional sources of irrigation water for comparison. Farms must be located in California, and ideally in the Central Valley.
 
The study includes research, extension, and education components. In the research portion, we will work with farmers to: 1) complete a brief survey on irrigation water use, and 2) collect small samples of irrigation water, surface soils, and crops. We will analyze constituents such as salts, metals, and naturally occurring radionuclides. Results will be de-identified, kept confidential, and presented only in aggregated format. 
 
Laboratory results will then be analyzed to better understand the impact of using oilfield produced water compared to traditional irrigation water on soil and crop health, identify potential water quality, food safety, and human health risks, and pinpoint what, if any, modifications could be made to optimize the safe use of alternative irrigation water sources. During extension, we will hold meetings with farmers and other stakeholders to discuss study results and any recommendations. In the education portion, we will develop classes at CSU-B and Duke for students to learn about alternative irrigation water management. 
 
With the help of growers like you, we strive to provide the best data-driven management options for a sustainable, thriving California agriculture. For more information about the project, view this recent presentation or news article
 
The multi-disciplinary study team includes Dr. Avner Vengosh (Duke), professor of geochemistry and water quality; Dr. Laura Feinstein (Pacific Institute), senior research associate; Dr. Elisabetta Lambertini (RTI), research scientist and environmental engineer; Ms. Jennifer Hoponick Redmon (RTI), environmental health scientist and chemical risk assessment specialist; Dr. Erika Weinthal (Duke), professor of environmental policy; and Dr. Luis Cabrales (CSU-B), assistant professor of chemical engineering.
 
If you want to enroll now or learn more, please send a group email to: 
 
Laura Feinstein lfeinstein@pacinst.org; Avner Vengosh, Ph.D. vengosh@duke.edu; Andrew Kondash andrew.kondash@duke.edu; Redmon, Jennifer jredmon@rti.org; Luis Cabrales Arriaga lcabrales@csub.edu; Lambertini, Elisabetta elambertini@rti.org
 
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This article was submitted by Jennifer Hoponick Redmon.
 
Jennifer Hoponick Redmon is an environmental health scientist and chemical risk assessment specialist for RTI International. RTI International is an independent, nonprofit institute that provides research, development, and technical services to government and commercial clients worldwide. Our mission is to improve the human condition by turning knowledge into practice.
 

 

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