Chittaranjan Ray

Director, Nebraska Water Center

Water for Food Daugherty Global Institute University of Nebraska
2021 Transformation Drive, Lincoln, NE 68588
(402) 472-​8427

Dr. Ray’s research uses mathematical tools and big data concepts to understand water use efficiency and water productivity of irrigated agriculture. He also tries to focus on the overall sustainability of such production systems which examining the potential for soil and ground water, impacts to urban and rural drinking water systems, and future climatic scenarios. Some of the projects of his research group include:

  • Development of a water productivity atlas for Nebraska and estimation of water footprint for agriculture and energy related industries operating within Nebraska
  • Integrated assessment of surface and ground water systems to reduce impacts on stream ecosystems in areas undergoing intensive irrigation.
  • Assessment of the vadose zone for soil quality and hydraulic properties to develop a publicly database for Nebraska.
  • Riverbank filtration as a method for supplying water to riparian rural communities where the ground water has elevated levels of nitrate
  • Assessment of nitrate-​induced uranium leaching from subsurface (both under saturated and partially-​saturated conditions)
  • Climatic, soil, and management factors affecting nitrogen conversion to nitrate and potential leaching in spring and early summer months.

Dr. Ray hopes that the Ogallala Water CAP will enable him to support growers, local agencies (such as the Natural Resource Districts – NRDs, and municipalities) so that irrigation and fertilization sustain the rural economy while having minimal environmental footprint.

The project results will foster meaningful engagements with both producers and regulators (such as state entities and NRDs). Elected boards of the NRDs will be collaborating with us will be updated with our findings.

With regard to his work with the Ogallala Water Coordinated Agriculture Project, Dr. Ray notes: “This is one of the first projects that spans over a large geographic area where the biophysical modeling, field trials, and economic and social analysis of various alternatives will help develop policies and provide options to producers to move forward to the next decades while serving the rural economy and judiciously exploiting the natural resources.”


Nebraska Water Center

Selected Publications

Carr, T., H. Yang, and C. Ray. 2016. Temporal variations of water productivity in irrigated corn: An analysis of factors influencing yield and water use across Central Nebraska, PLOS One, DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0161944 August 30, 2016.

Santiago, S., D. M. Roll, C. Ray, C. Williams, P. Moravcik, and A. Knopf. 2016. Effects of soil moisture depletion on vegetable crop uptake of pharmaceuticals and personal care products (PPCPs), Env. Sci. Pollut Res. Int. 20: 20257-20268.

D’Alessio, M., Gabriel El-​Swaify, B. Yoneyama, and C. Ray. 2015. A low-​cost water-​treatment system for potable water supplies in developing countries and after a natural disaster: ability to remove total coliforms and E. coli, Clean Technology and Environmental Policy, DOI: 10.1007/s10098-015-1074-y.

Hall, K.E., C. Ray, S. Ki, K. Spokas, and W.C. Koskinen. 2015. Pesticide sorption and leaching potential on three Hawaiian soils, Journal of Environmental Management, doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2015.04.046 (in press).

Ki, S., C. Ray, and M. Hantush. 2015. Applying a statewide geospatial leaching tool for assessing soil vulnerability ratings for agrochemicals across the contiguous United States, Water Research, 77:107-118.

D’Alessio, M., B. Yoneyama, M. Kirs, V. Kisand, and C. Ray. 2015. Pharmaceutically active compounds: Their removal during slow sand filtration and their impact on slow sand filtration bacterial removal, Science of the Total Environment, 524-525:124-35, DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.04.014.

Ki, S. and C. Ray. 2015. A GIS-​assisted regional screening tool to evaluate the leaching potential of volatile and non-​volatile pesticides, Journal of Hydrology, 522: 163-173. 

Dusek, J., M. Dohnal, M. Snehota, M. Sobotkova, C. Ray, and T. Vogel. 2015. Transport of bromide and pesticides through an undisturbed soil column: A modeling study with global optimization analysis, Journal of Contaminant Hydrology, 176:1-16.

D’Alessio, M., B. Yoneyama, and C. Ray. 2015. Fate of selected pharmaceutically active compounds during simulated riverbank filtration, Science of the Total Environment, 505:615-622.

Cutler, W., A.El-Kadi, N.V. Hue, J. Peard, K. Scheckel, and C. Ray. 2014. Iron Amendments to Reduce Bioaccessible Arsenic, J. Hazardous Materials, 279: 554-561.

Find more people