Water Quality Criteria for Irrigation

by Donald L. Suarez, USDA, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: National Water Conference


An assessment of irrigation water quality for the concentration of inorganic constituents should consider crop sensitivities, soil properties, such as hydraulic conductivity, reactions with water and solids in the soil, climatic factors, management level and irrigation system, effects on drainage water quality, effects on animals and humans to the element transmitted through harvested products, and economic conditions that determine how much reduction in yield or quality can be tolerated. To avoid the accumulation of toxic amounts of water-borne substances in the rootzone of irrigated lands, long term inputs must be limited to the sum of the losses from the soil and conversion to unavailable forms. Because most soluble constitutents are mobile they can be removed by leaching and their concentration can be adjusted to accomodate different crop tolerances. The problem with elements that exist in soluble and labile forms in soils is that once toxic levels occur reduction of these levels is slow, and many involve removal in harvested crops or conversion to insoluble forms.

Subject Headings: Water quality | Quality control | Soil pollution | Irrigation | Soil water | Hydraulic properties | Economic factors | Irrigation systems

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