By Published On: July 10, 2024

Science Q&A: Flood Irrigation and Groundwater Recharge

Water is the West’s most precious resource, and yet there is so much we don’t know about it. How are groundwater supplies and aquifers—as well as rivers and streams—affected by return flows from surrounding wetlands and agricultural fields? What happens to irrigation water after it helps grow crops and forage for livestock? Moreover, how do agricultural practices that benefit migratory birds, like flood irrigation, impact whole-watershed health? Fortunately, a suite of recent and ongoing research is untangling the relationship between surface water, groundwater, and in-stream flows across the region. The IWJV asked two scientists about their recent work studying the relationship between irrigation and groundwater in different parts of the West. Check out the Q&As below to learn more about this science.

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