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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Assessment of Salinity and Irrigation/Drainage Practices
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1 - Abstract
2 - Introduction
3 - Mobile Four-Electrode Sensing System
4 - Mobile Electromagnetic Sensing System
5 - Mapping Theory and Software
6 - Conclusions
7 - References
This poster describes an integrated package of instrumental systems for:
  • Intensively determining the spatial patterns of soil salinity within irrigated fields
  • Assessing the adequacy of irrigation and drainage systems
  • Establishing the area locations of excessive deep percolation and prime sources of salt-loading to the ground water
The technology package described is unique and represents a major breakthrough in our ability to rapidly and accurately assess soil salinity in irrigated lands.
Results presented here indicate that much of the apparent chaos in the spatial pattern of soil salinity found in irrigated fields is man-induced and can be explained in terms of deterministic processes caused by such management practices as:
  • Irrigation
  • Drainage
  • Cultivation
  • Tillage
The edaphic factors and management practices causing the salinity patterns can often be determined using the integrated salinity assessment approach and procedures described here. The system offers a unique technology for accurately and rapidly mapping and monitoring salinity-distributions in the field as well as for determining:
  • Causes of salinity
  • Diffuse sources of salt-loading from irrigated lands
  • Evaluating the effectiveness (possibly efficiency) of irrigation/drainage management practices
Since salinity is a tracer of water flow, the instrumental systems and associated data analysis may have a much broader application than just salinity assessment. For example, the methodology could potentially be used to:
  • Explain or define the underlying processes affecting the transport of nitrate or some pesticides in irrigated fields
  • Assess irrigation uniformity and degree of leaching
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Last Modified: 4/7/2006
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