Submitted to: Agricultural Water Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: May 5, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Irrigated agriculture presently accounts for 15 percent of the world's cultivated land but produces about 36 percent of the food. Present trends in population growth will require an increase in agricultural production of about 40-50 percent over the next 30-40 years. Most of this increase must come from existing cropland, mostly irrigated land. However, soil salinity is already a serious, general problem in the irrigated lands of the world and its very sustainability is being questioned in some places. Much of the problem is caused by inadequate and inappropriate irrigation and drainage management. Control of salinity and waterlogging in irrigated lands requires a practical technology for assessing the salinity conditions, the adequacy/appropriateness of management practices and the sources/causes of salinization in the fields and projects. This paper describes a new/advanced, practical methodology for such assessments. It is unique and represents a breakthrough in capability. Some results are given to demonstrate the utility of the technology.
Technical Abstract: A practical methodology for assessing the adequacy and appropriateness of irrigation, drainage and salinity-control management is described. This methodology is based upon the use of instrumental systems for intensively measuring bulk soil electrical conductivity and associated spatial coordinates, algorithms for multi-linear regression data analysis and site selection, and methods for obtaining salinity ground-truth. The technology package described is unique and represents a breakthrough in our ability to rapidly and accurately assess soil salinity in irrigated lands. Results are presented to demonstrate the utility of the technology along with data that indicate that much of the apparent chaos observed in the spatial pattern of soil salinity in irrigated fields is man-induced and can be explained in terms of deterministic processes caused by such management practices as irrigation, drainage, cultivation and tillage.