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Water Resources

Water quality and quantity are critical factors in any land-based system. Water resources evaluation, planning, and management take many forms in Land IQ's work. We evaluate the quality and quantity of 1) agricultural water for the safety and benefit of crops and soils, and 2) industrial wastewater for land application and treatment, or when it is beneficially reused in a crop or native plant system. Other waters resources services that Land IQ provides include: water conservation, crop consumptive use estimation using water balance tools, and groundwater basin modeling.

Petroglyph Sodic Soil Reclamation

sodic soil nutrients reclamation crop yield agriculture salinity soil analysis plant tissue sampling Agriculture Water Resources Salinity & Nutrients

Land IQ worked with Petroglyph Energy, Inc. to reclaim sodic soil on a dairy farm site near La Veta, CO. Petroglyph discharged water from coal bed methane dewatering operations in the Cucharas River under permit from the State of Colorado. The discharge water was high in sodium, and resulted in high loading rates of sodium applied to corn fields irrigated with Cucharas River water. Land IQ, in collaboration with Petroglyph, farm ownership, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and soil experts from the National Resources Conservation Service, designed and implemented a site evaluation, an intensive reclamation plan, and a monitoring plan to restore productivity on sodic farm soils. Land IQ’s expertise in salinity-related soil and crop management resulted in improvement in soil conditions and corn yields within one year.

City of Davis Manganese Study

soil analysis waste discharge permit wastewater Agriculture Water Resources Salinity & Nutrients

Land IQ conducted a study to determine the relationship between site-specific manganese levels in irrigation water and agricultural soils. The investigation included sampling a range of soil types, and interpreting results from soil analysis to determine the relationship between manganese and soil characteristics such as pH, texture, and other nutrient interactions. This information was used to fulfill the requirements of the discharge permit under which the City of Davis discharges treated wastewater into Willow Slough and the Yolo bypass. The wastewater treatment plant operated by the City of Davis in Davis, CA, collects wastewater from residents of Davis, California and two unincorporated areas in Yolo County.

Coldwater Mitigation with the California Department of Water Resources and Rice Growers

crop yield geospatial analysis Agriculture Remote Sensing Water Resources

Beginning in 2006, Land IQ personnel were instrumental in developing, negotiating, and implementing a settlement agreement between three rice-growing irrigation districts and the California Department of Water Resources (collectively the Parties). The Parties sought an agreeable means to determine fair compensation for rice crop yield loss (valued between $1M and $3M/year) due to lower water temperatures caused by operation of the State’s Oroville Reservoir. District diversions pre-dated the reservoir’s construction. The agreed technical methods had to be specific enough to provide the Parties certainty, defensible and credible enough to gain stakeholders’ financial support, and sufficiently flexible to allow future innovations to improve efficiency and/or accuracy. The agreement was signed in April 2008.

Land IQ has provided diverse technical support to the Parties during implementation by overseeing water temperature and yield monitoring, developing monitoring methods and databases, coordinating with growers, and conducting sophisticated geospatial analyses to identify and quantify fields, irrigation system features, and rice crop extent and yield. We developed a unique and accurate method of estimating rice yield loss from cold water damage using geospatial analytical techniques. Our success on this project is the result of a highly integrated team of scientists working together to create innovative and meaningful solutions for our client.

Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program, Inyo County, California

dust control water policy Water Resources

Land IQ has served the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power in multiple functions in the concept development, design, implementation, and operations of approximately 40 square miles of playa stabilization for dust control on the Owens Dry Lakebed. Land IQ staff were integral members of the engineering and science team for multiple design phases. Our team supported design of water delivery, irrigation, and subsurface drainage systems and grading and tillage plans, as well as developing soil preparation and planting specifications for dust control on the Owens Dry Lakebed. Systems included a novel fresh-saline water blending system, more than 50 miles of pipeline, and nearly 4 square miles of subsurface drip irrigation. Land IQ staff:

  • Developed design concepts and criteria for irrigation, surface and subsurface drainage and planting
  • Developed and managed 50 acres of saltgrass seed production farms to provide 29 million plants from local native seed from the lower Owens Valley for planting 2,200 acres of saltgrass;
  • Developed concepts for system refinements, habitat enhancement, and water conservation
  • Provide guidance on irrigation and chemigation protocols and water quality
  • Planned and conducted monitoring of plant health status for irrigation scheduling recommendations on a 2,200-acre managed vegetation dust control measure; monitoring included data collection and data analysis using ArcPad and ArcView GIS software to identify and delineate areas requiring special management.

Southern California Water Company Crop Water Use

groundwater irrigation Agriculture Water Resources

Land IQ staff prepared testimony for Santa Clara County Superior Court on behalf of Southern California Water Company for a groundwater adjudication case in the Santa Maria Valley. This work  involved expert witness testimony, both in deposition and in trial settings.

Land IQ undertook a year-long effort to assess crop water use for an historical 58-year period over a 164,000-acre basin. The work focused on pumped water and return flows to groundwater under irrigated and non-irrigated areas. Crop and native vegetation evapotranspiration and soil storage were modeled. Water was assessed to ensure adequate quality for sensitive crops.

Incirlik Air Force Base Water Reuse and Conservation

wastewater wastewater recycling water conservation Water Resources

Land IQ provided technical expertise and project management to the Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment (AFCEE) and the United States Air Force for a reuse feasibility assessment and design located at the Incirlik Air Force Base outside of Adana, Turkey. The assessment and design focused on using conventionally treated wastewater to irrigate various turf and landscaped areas on the base. This project was stimulated by the need to conserve on-base water supplies at the Incirlik Base both from a water conservation perspective and for security purposes.

The feasibility study evaluated the science- and design-based needs associated with the conversion of some on-base irrigation water sources from potable water to treated wastewater. This project successfully reduced reliance on off-base water supplies through irrigation with treated wastewater and other conservation practices associated with landscape irrigation. The use-efficiency was maximized in this project because water storage was limited. A nutrient and hydraulic management plan was constructed to ensure that no over-application of nutrients or recycled water occurs.

Owens Lake Water Conservation

dust control water conservation Water Resources

For the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) Owens Lake Dust Mitigation Program, Land IQ has prepared large-scale water conservation strategies and plans, including developing and pilot testing water conserving dust control measures. Water consumption on Owens Lake is currently approximately 95,000 acre-feet/year.

Therefore, strategies for conserving water while implementing dust control measures are of great interest and are critical for the long term sustainability of the Program. Our concepts have the potential to conserve up to 50,000 acre feet per year, over half of current consumption. Land IQ continues to support LADWP operational staff in implementing these strategies and related regulatory negotiations:

  • Developing and demonstrating new dust control approaches that require little or no water
  • Managing site salinity to reclaim suitable areas and convert facilities to drought tolerant vegetative land stabilization, and to concentrate site salts in specific areas and manage their chemistry to form erosion resultant crusts with negligible evaporation
  • Developing Water management tools such as water demand prediction and scheduling programs, SCADA system support programs, and automated surface condition monitoring methods

Together, these strategies minimize consumptive water use, lower capital costs, reduce labor intensity, and reliably achieve compliance.

Stabilization Of Exposed Salton Sea Bed For Imperial Irrigation District

erosion air quality irrigation Water Resources

Water transfers and conservation in California’s Imperial Valley have reduced drainage flows to the adjacent Salton Sea, resulting in receding shoreline and exposure of vast expanses of fragile, erodible Sea floor. As part of the Salton Sea Ecosystem Restoration Program, Land IQ has contracted with the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) to identify strategies for stabilizing these lands, either by developing them for particular uses, protecting them from traffic, planting protective covers, roughening surfaces to disrupt wind, or combinations of these approaches. This has involved working extensively with local, state, and federal air quality agencies and other stakeholder groups. Land IQ’ work has involved air quality monitoring and mitigation, coordinating efforts with regulatory and water transfer partners, developing air quality and habitat enhancement projects and other special projects.

Some specific work efforts include:

  • Projection of air quality impacts resulting from the largest agriculture-urban water transfer in US history.
  • Land IQ evaluated both fallowed farmland and exposed Salton Sea playa land surfaces. A mitigation program was developed for dust emissions and presented before the California State Water Quality Control Board.
  • Assessment of potential Salton Sea dust emissions and development of dust control technologies, including establishment of a pilot program for testing of control technologies and habitat restoration measures.
  • Development of an innovative Habitat and Air Quality Management Project that employs networked, linear habitat channels to preemptively control dust over most of the future Salton Sea Playa.
  • Assessment of background geographic and air quality data to support regional air quality monitoring network design.

Santa Clara River Watershed Agricultural Irrigation Thresholds/TMDL

chloride agriculture salinity wastewater water management Agriculture Water Resources Salinity & Nutrients

Land IQ personnel worked with Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts to serve as the lead technical consultant for the Santa Clara River Watershed TMDL Collaborative Process. Land IQ specifically focused on the agricultural irrigation thresholds for chloride and salinity for the production of avocados, strawberries and nursery crops. This work involved collaboration in stakeholder meetings with representatives from:

  • California Avocado Commission
  • California Strawberry Commission
  • Nursery Crop Organizations
  • Individual Growers
  • Ventura County Farm Bureau
  • California Regional Water Quality Control Board
  • Newhall Land and Ranch Company
  • United Water Conservation District
  • Elected Public Officials
  • Various Environmental Groups

Over a 2.5-year period, a detailed literature review and evaluation was developed to help determine the potential threshold of irrigation water quality constituents of concern, specifically chloride and salinity, on sensitive crops as a basis of the TMDL process. Local grower input was gathered through interviews and field surveys. To establish acceptable irrigation water quality, NewFields conducted a detailed assessment of water quality, irrigation practices, cultural practices and drainage management. The work also included comprehensive public notification efforts with stakeholder groups, public officials, researchers, and farm managers. A six-person academic technical panel comprised of experts in this field reviewed all work produced by NewFields. This work has been highly influential in establishing a chloride TMDL for irrigation of sensitive species in the Santa Clara River Basin. Despite the controversial subject matter, the literature review and findings were commended by industry professionals, agencies, environmentalists, and academics on both sides for scientific merit and objectivity.

Rio Tinto Mine dewatering and Irrigation Project – Saline Water Managment

Water Resources Salinity & Nutrients

Land IQ was a consultant for British-based Rio Tinto Mining Company and its subsidiary, Resolution Copper Mining near Phoenix, Arizona. The project focuses on the blending of saline mine water with Central Arizona Project water for irrigation of cotton, alfalfa, sorghum and sod. Land IQ is leading an effort to create an acceptable blended water quality for irrigation on approximately 7,000 acres of agricultural land within the New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District.

This project involves direct working efforts with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, the state of Arizona Lands Department, New Magma Irrigation and Drainage District, the University of Arizona Soil, Water and Environmental Science Department, Rio Tinto and the Resolution Copper. Many of these multi-stakeholder efforts were for the purpose of obtaining permitting documents and satisfying the discharge requirements. The project involved real-time monitoring of treated mine water, Central Arizona Project water, and the blended water quality and quantity.

The network monitors in-canal Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), temperature, and pH probes. A web-based portal and mapping application was used for instantaneous water quality assessment and tracking. Land IQ also manages a comprehensive soil, water, and tissue sampling program that will take place at least quarterly for the expected 3- to 4-year project duration. Crop growth stages and tracking will also be conducted. After it is dewatered, this mine will be the largest copper mine in North America.