RBC affiliate Puneet Dwivedi is leading the UGA team on a four-university project, to look at the economic sustainability of agriculture and forestry in north Florida and south Georgia that rely on this water supply. The Upper Floridan Aquifer supports agricultural activities worth more than $7.5 billion and provides drinking water to 10 million people, said Puneet Dwivedi, assistant professor of sustainability sciences at UGA. “But it is facing significant threats to water quality and quantity, which could potentially harm food security, fiber production and vital ecosystem services,” he said.
The researchers from the University of Florida Water Institute, UGA, Auburn University, and Albany State University will focus on developing new best management practices and increasing farmers’ adoption of existing best practices, leading to reduced water use and improved water quality in the aquifer. The $5 million study is funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture. At UGA, Dwivedi will develop a model for understanding how the adoption of best management practices will change the current land use in the study area and the consequences of such changes on water quality and quantity.
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