Aquifer - Salination

Salination

Aquifers in surface irrigated areas in semi-arid zones with reuse of the unavoidable irrigation water losses percolating down into the underground by supplemental irrigation from wells run the risk of salination.
Surface irrigation water normally contains salts in the order of 0.5 g/l or more and the annual irrigation requirement is in the order of 10000 m3/ha or more so the annual import of salt is in the order of 5000 kg/ha or more.
Under the influence of continuous evaporation, the salt concentration of the aquifer water may increase continually and eventually cause an environmental problem.

For salinity control in such a case, annually an amount of drainage water is to be discharged from the aquifer by means of a subsurface drainage system and disposed of through a safe outlet. The drainage system may be horizontal (i.e. using pipes, tile drains or ditches) or vertical (drainage by wells). To estimate the drainage requirement, the use of a groundwater model with an agro-hydro-salinity component may be instrumental, e.g. SahysMod.

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