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Water management, Sugarcane, Ecosystem services, Everglades

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Lands in the Everglades Agricultural Area (EAA) can be used for increased water storage in order to relieve coastal estuaries of excess runoff in the rainy season. The goals of this study were: (1) to quantify the environmental and economic tradeoffs of different water storage scenarios using water tolerant sugarcane cultivars; and (2) to quantify the amount of water storage possible in the EAA under different water storage scenarios. A mathematical model was developed to calculate soil depth, soil subsidence, depth to the water table, and water storage for three different sugarcane cultivars with different water tolerances. The results showed raising water tables on farmlands did have the environmental benefits of reduced soil subsidence, extended farm life and increased years of water storage. In addition, raising water tables in the EAA to increase water storage is overall more costly, but yearly costs are very low. Therefore, water storage on farmlands is an affordable interim method of water storage.

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Water Science, v. 32, issue 1, p. 138-150