- Start date: 1 January 2017
- End date: 31 December 2018
- Funder: NERC
- Value: £202,027
- Primary investigator: Professor Lex Comber
This Research Translation Project develops a proof of concept to tests the value of real-time predictions of agro-chemical run-off risk at two scales of decision making: field scale for on farm decisions about agro-chemical applications risk and catchment scale for water company groundwater abstraction decisions. Agro-chemicals (fertilisers, pesticides, herbicides, etc) are less effective if they are washed away soon after they are applied. They can also negatively affect ground water quality and the environment.
The farmer may have to re-apply the agro-chemical and water companies may have treat groundwater to meet drinking water quality standards, and in some cases change water abstraction locations. For both farmers and water companies additional costs are incurred. This project develops proofs of concept for 2 web-mapping tools to model the risk associated with agro-chemical applications: a catchment-scale tool to support water company decision making and a field-scale tool to support farmer decision making. Both tools combine live, real-time data from the Met Office on rainfall type and probability with landscape models of underlying soil, landform, drainage, land use etc. in order to model agro-chemical runoff risk.
User-groups will feedback their experiences about the operational use and functionality of the tools to provide information for the modelling and programming teams to adjust the background engine and front-end functionality. The project outputs will include the specification of for national decision tools, targeted at farmers and water companies, to quantify the risks associated with a full set of common agro-chemical applications designed be accessed using desktop PCs and smartphones.