Frank Tsai director of the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute speaks to LSU AgCenter researchers and extension agents who conduct waterrelated projects at a meeting on July 6 in Alexandria Louisiana The institute and the AgCenter are partnering to address Louisiana water issues through research and outreach Photo by Olivia McClureLSU AgCenter

Frank Tsai, director of the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute, speaks to LSU AgCenter researchers and extension agents who conduct water-related projects at a meeting on July 6 in Alexandria, Louisiana. The institute and the AgCenter are partnering to address Louisiana water issues through research and outreach. Photo by Olivia McClure/LSU AgCenter

LSU AgCenter, College of Engineering partner for water research, outreach

How best to make use of Louisiana's water supply? Joint project aims to find answers.

The LSU AgCenter is partnering with the Louisiana Water Resources Research Institute for research and outreach activities designed to help people make better use of Louisiana’s water supply.

The institute is housed in the LSU College of Engineering and is one of 54 state-level water research centers administered by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Agriculture is one of the largest users of Louisiana’s waters, which face increasing demand from farms, urban areas and industry. Parts of the state are contending with saltwater intrusion, poor water quality and drought, said Rogers Leonard, AgCenter associate vice president.

“This opportunity to pool faculty between the AgCenter and College of Engineering simply makes sense and offers an efficient way to address Louisiana’s water resource needs,” Leonard said. “Our hope is to leverage the expertise between the two campuses and establish a team that will produce competitive proposals for funding critical needs, develop solutions for stakeholder issues and use the AgCenter’s Extension programs to transfer that technology to the public.”

The AgCenter has recently put a larger focus on water research and outreach. A team of scientists -- an irrigation engineer, an agronomist, an economist and a water quality specialist -- was hired last summer at the Red River Research Station at Bossier City to help farmers irrigate more efficiently and reduce fertilizer runoff.

 LWRRI strives to improve water quantity and quality by providing scientific information and tools to government agencies and other organizations, said Frank Tsai, institute director.

Tsai, who studies water resource management, said LWRRI’s five affiliated faculty members work with groundwater, surface water and coastal waters of Louisiana. The institute also provides funding for faculty and student research projects.

“We help train the future water scientists and engineers in Louisiana through their participation in research,” Tsai said.

LWRRI cohosts the Louisiana Groundwater and Water Resources Symposia every April. It also periodically sponsors technology transfer conferences to promote practical applications of its research.

“When we complete projects, we really want the research results to be a tool to aid in the resolution of state water problems,” Tsai said. “I really am interested in doing this with the AgCenter because I know the AgCenter has a very strong component of extension and education, so we can help disseminate the new technologies and information we develop to water managers and the public.”

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