Salinity in Irrigation Water.

Salinity problems exists if salts accumulate in the crop root zone to a concentration that causes a loss in yield. In irrigated areas, these salts often originate from a saline, high water table or from salts in the applied water (irrigation water).

In irrigated agriculture, salinity problems are strongly influenced by a shallow water table (within 2 metres of the surface). Salts accumulate in this water table and frequently become an important additional source of salt that moves upward into the crop root zone. Control of an existing shallow water table is thus essential to salinity control and to successful long-term irrigated agriculture. Higher salinity water requires appreciable extra water for leaching, which adds greatly to a potential water table (drainage) problem and makes long-term irrigated agriculture nearly impossible to achieve without adequate drainage. If drainage is adequate, salinity control becomes simply good management to ensure that the crop is adequately supplied with water at all times and that enough leaching water is applied to control salts within the tolerance of the crop.

Salts that contribute to a salinity problem are water soluble. These salts are carried with the water to wherever it is used. In the case of irrigation, the salts are applied with the water and remain behind in the soil as water evaporates or is used by the crop.

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