Water quality and water quantity are interrelated, high-priority issues throughout the Southern Region. A projected 40% increase in population between 2012 and 2050 will dramatically increase demands for finite water resources and the potential for adverse impacts on the quality of those resources. While agriculture currently accounts for approximately 80% of consumptive water use nationally and over 90% in portions of the south and west, demands for the urban and energy sectors are increasing. At the same time, climate-related factors also are increasing concerns related to food security, environmental flows, and water supply stress.

SERA43 was formed to:

develop and provide adoption of new technologies, enhance management practice effectiveness, and deliver scientifically defensible data to drive policy to meet future agricultural water resource challenges. This work will develop water-efficient crop varieties and cropping systems, increase water capture, recycling and reuse of water, support transition to dryland and limited-irrigation strategies, improve water distribution systems and irrigation efficiencies, develop economic risk assessment tools that identify profitable, water-efficient production options, and protect water resources by reducing sediment, nutrient, pesticide, and bacteria losses. Likewise, in the urban sector we must enhance domestic water conservation, improve irrigation efficiencies and system management, improve landscape design, expand and optimize water reuse, and improve water capture, while at the same time reducing point and nonpoint source pollution in stormwater runoff. At the watershed scale, all citizens will be affected by these outcomes and are stakeholders in achieving long-term water security.

SERA43 is:

an organization of land grant university research, extension, and education faculty. Our mission is to develop and promote innovative solutions to protect and improve water quality, water quantity, and habitats by enhancing information exchange among scientists, and the dissemination of science-based technology and information to policy-makers and stakeholders at state and local levels. We expect to provide:

  • New and innovative multi-disciplinary approaches to key water challenges in the South.
  • New collaborative research and extension projects and programs that serve the needs of the Southern Region to enhance, conserve, and protect water resources.
  • Enhanced partnerships with key external water resource agencies and groups, e.g., USDA-NIFA, USDA-NRCS, USEPA, watershed associations, and others.
  • Increased awareness and knowledge of water resource issues and increased adoption of science-based management practices for water conservation and water quality protection by agricultural and urban stakeholders.
  • Greater food and water security in the South.