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Metamodels and Nonpoint Pollution Policy in Agriculture

  • Bouzaher, Aziz
  • Lakshminarayan, P. G.
  • Cabe, Richard
  • Carriquiry, Alicia L.
  • Gassman, Philip W.
  • Shogren, Jason F.

Informed debate on agricultural nonpoint pollution requires evaluation of regional water quality in relation to management practices. It is prohibitive, in terms of cost and time, to run the site-specific process models for regional policy analysis. Therefore, a simplified and robust technique--metamodeling--is suggested to evaluate regional water quality. Data from an experimentally designed simulation of complex surface water and groundwater process models, PRZM and STREAM, are used to develop statistically validated metamodels. The estimated metamodels were integrated with a regional agricultural economic decision making model to evaluate the surface water and groundwater loadings of 16 major corn and sorghum herbicides. Spatial probability distributions are derived for herbicide concentrations exceeding the toxicity-weighted benchmark from the EPA. We estimate that 1.2 percent of the regional soils will lead to groundwater detection of atrazine exceeding 0.12 ?/L, which compares well with the findings of the EPA's groundwater monitoring survey. We find no-till practices to significantly reduce the surface water concentration of atrazine and other herbicides with less impact on groundwater contamination suggesting indirect gains to soil conservation policies. But we also note that an atrazine ban could lead to increased soil erosion, even with the conservation compliance provisions fully incorporated.

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Paper provided by Iowa State University, Department of Economics in its series Staff General Research Papers with number 531.

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Date of creation: 01 Jan 1993
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Publication status: Published in Water Resources Research 1993, vol. 29 no. 6, pp. 1579-1587
Handle: RePEc:isu:genres:531
Contact details of provider: Postal: Iowa State University, Dept. of Economics, 260 Heady Hall, Ames, IA 50011-1070
Phone: +1 515.294.6741
Fax: +1 515.294.0221
Web page: http://www.econ.iastate.edu
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