Nursery, floriculture, and propagation production accounted for 79% ($13.3 Billion) of 2017 ornamental specialty crop production in the United States. Access to high quality water sources is increasingly limited for irrigating these economically significant crops. Given the production, environmental, and economic issues associated with the use of water—including recycled, reclaimed, surface, and ground water—it is critical to develop sustainable runoff, containment, and remediation technologies, and to identify alternative sources of water. To better understand current practices and future water-related needs as perceived by grower stakeholders, an online survey was distributed nationally and five in-depth round table discussion sessions were conducted at the Mid-Atlantic Nursery Trade Show, Gulf States Horticultural Expo, California Grown Show, AmericanHort’s Cultivate, and the Farwest Show with a total of 36 individual industry participants. A team of research and extension specialists facilitated by a Specialty Crops Research Initiative Planning Grant (NIFA Project # 2011-51181-30633) analyzed and concisely summarized the results from the survey and the round table discussions. Research priorities related to water management identified by stakeholders revolved around six themes: (1) recycled water infrastructure and management; (2) contaminants; (3) plant health and water quality; (4) water treatment technologies; (5) competing and complementary water uses; (6) societal perception of agricultural water use.
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