Clean WateR3: integrating research and extension to help specialty crop growers recycle water

S.A. White
Fresh water resources are valuable and limiting in many areas of the United States. Use of alternative water resources (reclaimed or recycled water) for specialty crop production may help reduce strain on limited potable water resources while supporting continued producer economic viability over coming years. Industry-wide use of alternative water resources is limited by infrastructure costs and concerns related to contaminant (e.g., disease, pesticide, and salt) presence. The Clean WateR3 (R3 = Reduce, Remediate, Recycle) scientists and extension faculty are developing a suite of online tools (model systems) to aid the producer decision process. The foundational data for these web-based tools are supported by on-farm and laboratory research evaluating a suite of treatment technologies (best management practices) and current water management practices that will be used independently or in combination to address individual needs of specialty crop operations throughout the US. The sociology team interviewed 20+ growers to determine how management decisions are made and is working to make recommendations on how to present information resources online ( and at workshops and field-days to encourage grower adoption. The economic team interviewed select eastern and western US growers to develop economic cost estimation protocols and a life cycle inventory to support development of carbon and water footprints. Economic and biological data will be integrated for online decision making tools, helping growers understand how a change in practice influences water use and economic indicators. Project outcomes will help growers treat and reuse operational water to save valuable water resources, and reduce the environmental impact of runoff water.
White, S.A. (2018). Clean WateR3: integrating research and extension to help specialty crop growers recycle water. Acta Hortic. 1191, 193-198
DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2018.1191.27
irrigation control, fertilizer management, treatment technologies, barriers to adoption, socio-economic evaluation, water model

Acta Horticulturae