Models are often used to explore the impacts of various management strategies on groundwater storage and crop yield. In this paper, we present a linkage between the agronomic model DSSAT and MODFLOW, a groundwater flow model. We demonstrate use of this of linked model, DSSAT-​MODFLOW, as applied to the Ogallala aquifer underlying Finney County, Kansas, tested against observed water table elevation and crop yield. Using data 1997-​2007, the observed well capacity decreased by more than 50% for many pumping wells in Finney County. Modeling a no-​irrigation scenario for this same time period using the linked model resulted in an average water table increase of 6.5 ft, but also a 70% decline in crop yield. The DSSAT-​MODFLOW linked modeling system can be a valuable tool for assessing groundwater conservation strategies and their feasibility for local economies, since it jointly tracks groundwater resources, pumping conditions, and crop yield. It can be used in regions worldwide to assess changes in irrigation technologies, crop selection, and climate change adaptation strategies.

Publication: Xiang, Z., R.T.Bailey, S. Nozari, Z.Husain, I.Kisekka, V. Sharda, P.Gowda (2020). DSSAT-​MODFLOW: A new modeling framework for exploring groundwater conservation strategies in irrigated areas. Agricultural Water Management Volume 232, 1 April 2020, 106033.

This article is part of a special issue titled “Managing the Ogallala” published by Agricultural Water Management that was guest edited by Ogallala Water team members Ryan Bailey, Meagan Schipanski, and Isaya Kisekka.

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