Introducing the National Center for Alluvial Aquifer Research

Drew Gholson, Irrigation Specialist
By Drew Gholson, Irrigation Specialist February 4, 2022 15:06 Updated

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Introducing the National Center for Alluvial Aquifer Research


The National Center for Alluvial Aquifer Research (NCAAR) is a water-focused research team that exists as a Cooperative Program between U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (USDA ARS) and Mississippi State University’s Delta Research and Extension Center (MSU DREC) in Stoneville, MS.


Mission: The mission of NCAAR is to generate and share science-based information on issues surrounding water use for agriculture, focused in the Lower Mississippi River Basin (LMRB).


NCAAR aims to produce and communicate research directed at the conservation and sustainability of water resources for agriculture, which includes:

  • developing water-efficient cropping systems,
  • improving water capture,
  • improving water distribution systems and irrigation efficiencies,
  • developing water-saving irrigation management options, and
  • developing economic risk assessment tools that enable producers to identify profitable and water-efficient production options.


MSU DREC Faculty:

  • Dr. Drew Gholson, Coordinator and Extension Irrigation Specialist
    • His focus is to produce and communicate research directed at the adoption of profitable irrigation management strategies that conserve water, maintain soil resources, and improve water quality.
  • Dr. Gurpreet Kaur, Agronomist
    • Her research is focused on developing and evaluating agronomic management practices for reducing water use and improving irrigation water use efficiency and nutrient use efficiency while maintaining crop yields and environmental quality.
  • Dr. Himmy Lo, Irrigation Engineer
    • His focus is to propose and promote practical solutions to the technical and behavioral challenges of using soil moisture sensors and improving infiltration/runoff management for irrigation water conservation.
  • Dr. Nicolas Quintana, Natural Resource Economist
    • His research focuses on understanding the economic factors that drive the decline of the alluvial aquifer as well as evaluating the economic and conservation merits of various experimental practices being studied at NCAAR.
  • Dr. Gurbir Singh, Agronomist/Soil Scientist
    • His research is focused on developing best irrigation and drainage management practices for improving crop productivity, soil health and water quality.

USDA ARS Scientists:

  • Mr. Chris Delhom, Acting Research Leader
    • His focus is to improve cotton quality through improved production, processing, and measurements, as well as remote sensing and automation of controls.
  • Dr. Saseendran Anapalli, Soil Scientist
    • His focus is to develop sustainable irrigation-water management practices through farm-scale studies to measure and model crop water use efficiencies and greenhouse gas emissions in response to production practices and climate variability.
  • Dr. Daryl Chastain, Plant Physiologist
    • His focus is to use plant and sensor-based approaches to irrigation scheduling as a means of increasing water productivity while preserving the yield and quality of row crops.
  • Dr. James Kim, Agricultural Engineer
    • His focus is to develop remote sensing and imaging systems for sustainable water management and crop production using UAV and satellite image analysis, automation, and wireless sensor networks
  • Dr. Amanda Nelson, Hydrologist
    • Her focus is to use field and hydrologic modeling studies to improve water use efficiency, develop improved water budgets, and increase the use of tailwater recovery systems.
  • Dr. Ruixiu Sui, Agricultural Engineer
    • His focus is to improve water use efficiency through new methods for variable rate irrigation and irrigation scheduling.

In addition to the listed researchers, the NCAAR team also includes many graduate students, post docs, technicians, research/extension associates and administrative staff. Please visit our website at to see all the members of the NCAAR team.

NCAAR sends periodic newsletters to highlight current research projects, graduate students, and relevant news related to water resources in the Lower Mississippi River Basin. Sign up for the NCAAR newsletter at

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Drew Gholson, Irrigation Specialist
By Drew Gholson, Irrigation Specialist February 4, 2022 15:06 Updated
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