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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Chemical Effects of Saline Irrigation Water on a San Joaquin Valley Soil: II. Field Soil Samples


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 19 No. 1, p. 56-60
    Received: May 20, 1988

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. Catherine Thellier,
  2. Kenneth M. Holtzclaw,
  3. J. D. Rhoades and
  4. Garrison Sposito *
  1. U .S. Salinity Lab., Riverside, CA 92501;
    D ep. of Soil Sci., Univ. of California, Berkeley, CA 94720.



Representative samples were collected from the surface horizon of an Entisol in field plots that had received applied waters of differing quality over a 5-yr period while cropped with cotton (Gossypium sp.), wheat (Triticum sp.), and sugarbeets (Beta vulgaris L.). Irrigation was either with California Aqueduct water, saline well water, or a 1:1 mixture of the two. The soil samples were analyzed for saturation extract electrolytic conductivity (ECe); soluble and exchangeable cations; and carbonate and gypsum content. Both salinity and sodicity increased in the soil samples with decreasing applied water quality, and all of the samples were more saline and sodic and contained more calcite than at the initiation of the field experiment. The samples from plots receiving well water had developed values of ECe and sodium adsorption ratio (SARe), as well as an exchangeable sodium percentage-SARe relationship, identical to those observed after 1 yr in a companion soil column experiment. The samples from plots receiving aqueduct water were more saline and sodic than in the corresponding soil column experiment, however, probably because of less effective leaching in the field experiment. These results confirmed the hypothesis that the chemical properties of the field soils would be determined by the interplay between the applied water and evaporative capillary rise from the shallow aquifer. Since the increased salinity of the soil samples compensated for their increased sodicity, no permeability problems were expected, and irrigation with saline water should be successful for salt-tolerant crops if leaching were adequate.

Contribution from the Dep. of Soil and Environ. Sci., Univ. of California, Riverside.

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