2nd UF Water Institute Symposium Abstract

Submitter's Name Gregory Hendricks
Session Name Poster Session: Managing Water and Energy in a Transitioning Environment 2
Category Managing water and energy in a transitioning environment
Poster Number 310
Author(s) Sanjay Shukla,  University of Florida
  Gregory Hendricks,  University of Florida
  Zane Helsel, Rutgers University
  Robert Gilbert, University of Florida
  James Knowles, University of Florida
  Water Use for Three Biofuel Crops in South Florida
  High fuel prices and a strong national interest in greater energy independence and conservation have made biofuels important for the foreseeable future. Southern west Florida has good potential for biofuel crop production. Large-scale production of biofuel crops is likely to affect the water and related land resources in the nation, including Florida. The effect on water supply is especially important for southwest Florida due to already stressed surface and ground water resources. Information needed to evaluate the water requirements of biofuel crops and their impacts on regional water supply is lacking. The water use for three energy crops, switchgrass, sweet sorghum, and sugarcane are being quantified at the Southwest Florida Research and Education Center (SWFREC). Six lysimeters located at the SWFREC (Immokalee, FL.) are being used to collect the data needed to compute crop evapotranspiration (ETc). Each lysimeter (4.9 X 3.7 X 1.4 m) is equipped to measure water input, output, and storage. The lysimeters are surrounded by a buffer area that is planted with sugarcane and sweet sorghum. Seepage irrigation is being used to grow the biofuel crops and is being managed based on the measured soil moisture. Soil moisture (0-70 cm) and groundwater depths are measured to quantify unsaturated and saturated zone storage. The irrigation, runoff, and drainage volumes are being measured using flow meters or pressure transducers. Climatic parameters including rainfall are measured at a nearby weather station. Preliminary data for the average ETc collected over 120 days for sweet sorghum, switchgrass, sugarcane was 593 mm, 547 mm and 504 mm, respectively. This data will be used in conjuction with reference ET values to determine crop coefficients for each crop. The study is continuing for two years to better quantify the water use for the three crops and conduct watershed-scale water supply analyses.