Long-term Consequences of Recycling Drainage Water for Irrigation

by S. R. Grattan,
J. D. Rhoades,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


Several long.term field studies (i.e. 6 yrs or more) conducted by the USDA/ARS and the University of California have demonstrated that saline drainage water (ECw as high as 8 dS/m and 8 mg/L B) applied in a cyclic manner with good quality water could be used successfully as a supplemental source of irrigation water. Success of the strategy has been attributed to transient soil salinity profiles that are created under this practice allowing for more salt-sensitive crops to be included in the rotation and imposing salt-stress for shorter durations and during the portion of the season when the crop is more tolerant to salinity. However there are limits on the extent to which drainage water can be used for irrigation. Besides salinity, the major concerns with recycling drainage water over the long.term are the accumulation of B in the soil profile to toxic levels (i.e. drainage waters with over several mg/L B) and potential degradation of soil structure (i.e. using sodic drainage waters)

Subject Headings: Salt water | Water reclamation | Drainage | Water quality | Water supply | Irrigation water | Recycling | Salinity | California | United States

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