Purdue University professor Indrajeet Chaubey has developed a new tool that could help choose the most efficient ways to control pollution. Chaubey combined a best management practices tool with a genetic algorithm capable of finding the best solutions for non-point source pollution control in a watershed.
The tool can analyze data from an area and in a few hours compute the most cost-effective pollution control strategies for water resources affected by agriculture, replacing a process that used to take weeks or even months. The tool determines the best solutions based on the amount of pollution that can be eliminated, the economic impact to agricultural land, and other factors. The calculations are based on soil, water, and topography data collected by government agencies. The algorithm determines which practices will provide the most pollution control with the available funds and the least agricultural disruption.
"You have to look at the economic information at the same time. If the solution we provide will negatively impact farmers, it will not be adopted," Chaubey says. "Combining economic analysis with environmental analysis gives solutions that are more likely to be acceptable to farmers and watershed managers."
From Purdue University News
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