Multimillion-Acre Tea Bag

by George Svenson, Consultant; Watsonville, Calif.,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1980, Vol. 50, Issue 2, Pg. 47-50

Document Type: Feature article


Just as pouring the same cupful again and again through a tea strainer makes bitter tea, so irrigating again and again with return-flow water concentrates salts in the water supply. While damage to agriculture from salt contamination is a problem, it is less serious than the damage done to municipalities and industry. There are about 1,000,000 acres located in the Colorado River Basin where excess salinity is a problem, a situation further exacerbated by the U.S. treaty with Mexico that decrees salinity be kept below certain levels in water crossing the border. A proposed desalting plant and program will cost about $333,000,000. Now it appears that, at far lower cost, perhaps the same results can be achieved by better on-farm management of irrigation water. Here are some ways that can be done.

Subject Headings: Salt water | Professional societies | Irrigation | Return flow | Agriculture | Salts | Agricultural wastes | Local government | Colorado River | Mexico

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