Southern Regional Water Program

Research, Extension & Education Water Quality Programs through the Land Grant University System

Who We Are

States in the Southern region are facing major issues related to water quantity and conservation and water quality. Periodic drought conditions and a rapidly growing population are placing increasing demands on limited water resources in the region. At the same time, deterioration of water quality has occurred in some areas due to sediment, pathogenic bacteria, nitrogen, phosphorus, pesticides and other contaminants. These contaminants often can be traced to agricultural, forestry, fisheries and municipal activities where there is improper use of crop protection chemicals, land application of human and animal by-products, erosion and sediment transport, contaminated rural and urban storm water runoff, or improperly functioning on-site sewage treatment systems. In most cases, problems within a watershed stem from a combination of one or more of these potential sources.

Extension and research personnel with the Land Grant Universities in the Southern region are responding to these water quality and conservation issues with educational assistance, technology development and technology transfer programs. The Southern Region Water Quality Planning Committee (SRWQPC) was formed by the Southern Directors in 1988, and includes designated Water Quality Coordinators from each of the 13 states:

The SRWQPC membership includes expertise in animal waste management, agricultural engineering, soil fertility, agronomy, solid waste management, extension education, and agricultural economics. Program planning efforts for regional workshops and other special efforts involve expertise in a range of program areas including 4-H and youth, horticulture, wildlife, rangeland management, forestry, integrated pest management, consumer and family sciences and other areas related to water resources management.

The three major goals of the SRWQPC are:

  1. To be a source of regional coordination, communication and cooperation for programs on water quantity and quality.
  2. To develop and deliver high-priority research and education programs in a timely manner.
  3. To facilitate adoption of appropriate technologies and policies for water quality and quantity protection.

Programs and Activities

Coordination

The SRWQPC is linked electronically and communicates continuously to target critical and emerging water resource issues. In addition, the committee meets twice annually to share information and resources, for strategic regional and national coordination, and to organize and conduct the biennial water quality training conference. The SRWQPC also participates in an annual meeting of Water Quality Coordinators from across the United States to develop unified strategies, enhance coordination and exchange resources.

Education

As part of the regional project, the SRWQPC has developed the Southern Region Water Quality Information System which is a regional water resources database. The site is designed to enhance access by federal and state agencies and organizations and the public to research, extension and education resources available through the Land Grant University System.

Significant effort is directed toward enhancing coordination with other federal and state water resource management agencies such as the USEPA, USGS, USDA agencies - ARS, FSA, NRCS and NIFA. Regular meetings are scheduled to enhance coordination and promote effective use of resources available through the Land Grant University System.

In addition, multi-state training programs are developed and conducted, and/or co-sponsored by SRWQPC member states. Prime examples include recent training on Best Management Practices for Beef Cattle Producers targeting producers and agency personnel in Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and North Carolina.

Regional Training

The SRWQPC has organized and conducted 14 regional conferences for County Extension personnel and specialists, focusing on sharing successful programs and innovative approaches to solving water quality problems in agriculture, home economics, community development, and 4-H. Pre-and-post conference workshops and technical tours offer opportunities for in-depth training on key issues while conference sessions present state-of-the-art strategies for addressing critical water resource issues facing the citizens of the Southern region.

This material is based upon work supported in part by the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under Agreement No. 2004-51130-03114. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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