SPARC Carinata

Southeast Partnership for Advanced Renewables from Carinata (SPARC)

Hydraulic and Water Quality Modeling

Brassica Carinata (Carinata) commonly known as “Ethiopian mustard” is an oilseed crop and it could be introduced as an off-season winter cover crop in the southeastern U.S. However, there is a need to assess the impact of carinata on water quantity and quality.  The main objective of this project is to model the potential influence of Carinata on water quantity and quality under plausible future scenarios of land use and climate to support evaluation of its co-benefits, life cycle costs, and economic viability.

The USDA Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT) is used to simulate and estimate changes in runoff and nutrient loads (N and P) to surface waters. SWAT provides an intermediate scale platform for integrating regional-scale surface runoff and groundwater information to evaluate scenarios of carinata production under alternative futures of climate and production intensity over seasonal, annual and decadal time scales in different types of water years and wet and dry cycles.

Watershed-scale impacts will be estimated with different implementation levels of Carinata (standalone and in combination with row crops or analogous crops). The output from SWAT simulations of alternative future cropping scenarios provides estimated changes relative to the baseline condition of average annual streamflow, surface runoff, groundwater contribution to streamflow, sediment yield, N and P loading to streams (from surface runoff and groundwater), and plant uptake to inform economic and life cycle analyses focused on large-scale implementation.

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Images provided by SPARC