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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Sustainability of Irrigation: An Overview of Salinity Problems and Control Strategies

item Rhoades, James

Submitted to: National Research Council of Canada
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: July 28, 1997
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Not required - review paper

Technical Abstract: This paper provides an overview of salinity problems and control principles and strategies related to the issue of irrigation sustainability from a worldwide perspective. It is concluded that the so-called green revolution was really primarily blue, meaning that most of the increase in agricultural productivity that occurred during the 1950-1980 period resulted from the rapid expansion in irrigation. However, presently the rate of expansion has slowed markedly to the point that it is about the same as the rate of land degradation due to salinization and waterlogging. The predicted increases in worldwide food needs will become increasingly dependent upon irrigation which already contributes about 35-40 percent of the worlds agricultural bounty. The extent and causes of soil and water degradation from irrigation are described. It is concluded that a major concerted effort is needed to rejuvenate the irrigated land that has succumbed to salinization and waterlogging, if future food needs are to be met. The key technical principles, strategies and practices for controlling salinization of soil and water resources in irrigated lands are discussed and some commonly advocated but inappropriate practices are identified.

Last Modified: 4/17/2015
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