Agricultural Groundwater Contamination: New Preventative Tools

Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada scientists are working with the Canadian Water Network to study the complex linkages between agricultural water management and groundwater nitrate contamination. This information will help develop and test beneficial management practices and establish policies and programs to assist farmers in reducing groundwater contamination from agricultural outputs.

The research has provided insight into nitrogen cycling, its availability in the root zone and potential losses that occur through leaching from irrigated and rain fed crop systems located over a sand and gravel aquifer in British Columbia and from rain fed crop systems located over a fractured till and bedrock aquifer in Prince Edward Island. The research has also increased the understanding of the flow and transport systems of those aquifers, both of which are the primary sources of potable water for their regions. The results are helping scientists identify new strategies to reduce nitrate loss into groundwater, and develop tools to model these complex flow systems.

The long-term goal of this project is to develop a tool that links and provides information on land use, crop management practices, and climatic conditions with the risk of groundwater nitrate contamination.

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