Fruit and vegetable growers have been flourishing within the Columbia River Basin for decades due to the successful development of irrigation districts which divert surface water for crop and animal production. Irrigation districts serve many clients within the ag sector, but fruit and vegetable growers have been experiencing increasing demands for monitoring agricultural water used during production to make sure it meets microbial water requirements. These tests cost farms money given that they have to pay individuals to collect water, drive the samples to the lab, and analyze results in addition to the cost of processing the sample at the lab.
Given that irrigation district canal systems are expansive, it would be beneficial to pool data collected by individual growers in order to allow better monitoring of water quality for the entire system. Researchers at the University of California, Davis have been proving through collective sampling pilots that this practice could work by establishing that data obtained represent the irrigation district as a whole. Now that the theoretical background has been established, growers need a platform that they can log into to submit their results, view others’ results and calculate water quality metrics. Through collective sampling, the cost of water testing for an individual grower can be reduced and allow for more thorough monitoring for the system as a whole.
Phase 1 (2019/2020): Develop a web-based site which would allow for participants to log in and upload pertinent information to identify collection site, date, and test results. The site would then be able to calculate the geometric mean and statistical threshold value of E. coli per 100 ml as required for the Produce Safety Rule and generate a report for the grower. Details behind how to calculate STV and GM are described here.
Currently, both websites as well as excel spreadsheets exist for calculating these values and can be found here.
Initial work would be limited to a single irrigation district, the Naches Selah Irrigation District (NSID). Justin Harter, the manager of NSID, will be able to provide an overview of how irrigation districts operate and specific design characteristics of the NSID.
Outcomes: Functional Beta Website that will be continued with new features and further testing academic year 2020/2021. See attached documentation.
Extension County Faculty: Dr. Faith Critzer, ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR
WSU PROSSER IAREC
Washington State University
Course Faculty: Dr. Aaron Crandall, Computer Science
Alumni: Matthew Johnson (Technology Mentor)