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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: GIS Applications to the Basin-Scale Assessment of Soil Salinity and Salt-Loading to the Groundwater

Authors
item Corwin, Dennis
item Rhoades, James
item Vaughan, P - UCR, RIVERSIDE, CA

Submitted to: Bouyoucos Conference Proceedings
Publication Type: Popular Publication
Publication Acceptance Date: May 10, 1995
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Non-point source (NPS) pollutants (e.g., fertilizers, pesticides, trace elements, salts, etc.) are contaminants which pollute vast areas of soil and quantities of water. They are usually present in low concentrations, but their ubiquitous presence and resultant chronic health effects make them the most significant global pollution problem facing mankind. One means of combating the effects of NPS pollutants is to be able to simulate their movement and distribution in soils to minimize their degradative impact upon soil and groundwater resources. A unique aspect of the problem of modeling NPS pollutants is the spatial complexity of the problem. A geographic information system (GIS), which is a sophisticated spatial database for organizing, manipulating and displaying spatial data, offers a means of dealing with this spatial complexity. A review of the work of Corwin and his colleagues is presented which discusses two different modeling approaches for dealing with NPS pollutants using a GIS. Display maps are created which show spatial distributions of soil salinity, and salt entering into the groundwater. These maps provide a visual tool for making irrigation management decisions to minimize the environmental impact of salinity on soil and groundwater.

Technical Abstract: Non-point source (NPS) pollutants are contaminants, such as salinity, which pollute vast areas of soil and quantities of water. They are usually present in low concentrations, but their ubiquitous presence and resultant chronic health and/or agricultural effects make them the most significant global pollution problem facing mankind. One means of combating the effects of NPS pollutants is to be able to simulate their movement in soils to minimize their degradative impact. A unique aspect of the problem of modeling NPS pollutants is their spatial complexity. A geographic information system (GIS), which is a sophisticated spatial database, offers a means of dealing with this spatial complexity. A review is presented of previously published work by Corwin and his colleagues concerning the application of geographic information system (GIS) technology to the modeling of NPS pollutants in soil systems. The review describes the application of deterministic models to simulate the areal distribution of NPS pollutants in the vadose zone of soil. Display maps show the resultant environmental impact of irrigated agrculture. These maps provide a visual tool for making the decisions necessary to minimize the environmental impact of salinity on soil and groundwater.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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