Penn State Webinar Examines Irrigation Water Characteristics in Pennsylvania

Posted: July 6, 2015

The use of irrigation to support crops in Pennsylvania in fields, greenhouses, and high tunnels is growing. Irrigation water quality characteristics such as hardness, dissolved salts, and microorganisms vary depending on the local geology and type of water source. These water quality constituents can have important implications for both the health of and yield from irrigated crops.

On June 24, 2015, Amy Galford, a Water Resources Extension Educator with Penn State Extension in Cumberland County presented an online webinar on Irrigation Water Characteristics in Pennsylvania. The webinar provided irrigation statistics from federal agencies, general water quality characteristics for irrigation water across the state, and steps to evaluate potential irrigation water sources. Recommendations were also given for the testing of irrigation water.

Many of the areas in PA where irrigation is used have carbonate rocks and soils that affect surface and groundwater. Accordingly, most of the hundreds of irrigation samples submitted to Penn State’s Agricultural Analytical Services Lab have high alkalinity, high hardness, and a basic pH, which are not ideal for irrigating many vegetables, small fruit, and flowers. These irrigation sources may need acidification and other treatment to optimize production.

The 48-minute recorded webinar along with links to numerous irrigation resources can be found on the Penn State Extension Water Resources Webinar website.

Contact Information

Bryan Swistock
  • Senior Extension Associate; Water Resources Specialist
Phone: 814-863-0194