North Dakota State University Works to Save their Water Systems from Uncontrollable Weather Damage

In *All, Water Security by Ag is America

North Dakota’s bodies of water have suffered for years due to abnormally wet weather patterns, causing issues for farmland and beyond. North Dakota State University’s researchers have been working hard to identify solutions to these challenges with projects including:

  • Using innovative drainage methods to help the flooding Red River. Agricultural drainage and late spring snowmelt flooding are two major problems for the Red River, which flows through North Dakota. These problems have worsened over recent years due to abnormal weather patterns, causing severe drainage issues for farmers and the land impacted by the river’s flooding. Researchers at North Dakota State University and their Water Resources Research Institute are studying the streamflow of the river and possible alternatives to help combat the issues caused by the flooding. Their research led to new drainage systems to help adjust the river’s flow and mitigate future flooding, not only in North Dakota but in flood-prone areas around the world.
  • Irrigation research saves taxpayers up to $25 million. The Devils Lake basin in northeastern North Dakota has also suffered from wet weather since 1993, causing rising lake water levels and flooding of farmland. Researchers from North Dakota State University studied whether irrigation of agricultural crops might increase crop water use significantly and thereby help mitigate flooding in the basin. The initial research efforts by NDSU helped to eliminate costly and ineffective proposed solutions from further consideration, potentially saving taxpayers anywhere from $5 million to $25 million in costs. A follow-up study indicated a 23% increase in crop water use from irrigation and possibly some relief from flooding, but waterlogged soils, poor field trafficability, and soil salinity issues would be problematic with this approach.

These are just a few examples of ways North Dakota State University is working to address the state’s water challenges. For additional ways you can help ensure these programs and others like them continue to produce real results for your community, please click here.

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