The Kansas Water Resources Institute (KWRI) develops and supports research on high-priority water resource problems as defined by the Kansas state water plan. KWRI is designed to facilitate effective communication between water resources professionals and to foster the dissemination and application of research results.
The projects we fund represent key issues affecting Kansas water quality and water resources. These projects have diverse and wide-ranging subjects, including studies on the efficacy of new irrigation technologies, studies on river morphology, drought assessment tools, or water quality assessments.
KWRI is committed to fostering excellence in research, at all levels. To that end, we are proud to support student research at different Kansas universities. Currently, funded projects provide support for eight undergraduate students, three graduate students and one post-doctoral researcher.
This newsletter issue focuses on current KWRI projects. Take a moment to read about this important research that seeks to answer key questions about water issues for our state, including projects on harmful algae blooms, streambank stabilization efforts and riparian buffer strips. If you would like additional information about any project, please contact us at KWRI for more information or email the project leader directly.
Fort Riley looms large to the southwest of Manhattan, spreading over 100,000 acres and serving more than 40,000 active duty service members, their families, and other civilian employees. The base is surrounded by water: it’s sandwiched between two reservoirs – Milford and Tuttle Creek – and located along both the Republican and Kansas Rivers.
Because of this, Fort Riley was selected in 2011 to participate in the “Net Zero Initiative” as one of six Net Zero Water Pilot instillations tasked to maintain the quality and quantity of groundwater and surface water resources in the area. For K-State professor Stacy Hutchinson, this was an opportunity to evaluate the limitations and advantages of an advanced oxidation water treatment process, and assess the applications of this system using water samples from Fort Riley.
The advanced oxidation process – or AOP – is a system that uses UV irradiation and ozone to treat biologically contaminated water. The process isn’t new, but the design is unique: Hutchinson and her team wanted to make the system mobile to assist with troop security in forward deployment areas. Those troops cannot always rely on supply convoys, and often cannot transport caustic chemicals for water decontamination or carry heavy supplies of potable water. Instead, they could use the mobile AOP on water from local sources or wells, even ones contaminated with a biological agent.
Over fifty local producers, K-State researchers, and other experts gathered for a feedlot field day in early October to discuss the importance of both cattle and feeding facility management. The event showcased the well-designed and managed cattle backgrounding facility owned by Jarret and Shawna Moyer north of Emporia. K-State watershed specialists used the event to stress the importance and value of feedlot management in relation to water quality.
The farmers and ranchers who attended reported a measurable increase in knowledge about the day’s topics, which included: conservation, alternative watering systems, cover crops, site selection, managing runoff, and cattle handling facilities and techniques. Event organizers said that, based on a written evaluation, 83 percent of participants also plan on sharing their new knowledge with other producers. Already, some attendees have reported that they plan to change their home operations to benefit the waters of Kansas. Continue reading “Feedlot managers make changes to protect water quality”→
K-State professor Stacy Hutchinson is an award-winning teacher and a decorated U.S. Army veteran. Her work in the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering focuses on developing new techniques for improving water quality and quantity as well as sustainable water management practices. Her projects have been awarded funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, and the US Department of Agriculture.