Irrigation and drainage in agriculture: a salinity and environmental perspective

S.E.A.T.M. van der Zee, S.F. Stofberg, X. Yang, Y. Liu, M.N. Islam, Yin Fei Hu

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Whereas irrigation and drainage are intended to address the shortage and surplus of soil water, respectively, an important aspect to address is also the management of salinity. Plants have a limited tolerance for soil water salinity, and despite significant gaps in our practical knowledge, an impression of acceptable salinities is available for many crops. To manage soil salinity, the Leaching Requirement is an old, yet useful, concept. In this chapter, we extend this concept for soils with shallow groundwater. Particularly if shallow groundwater is saline, management is needed to avoid capillary rise of this water into the root zone. One of the tools to do so is Climate Adaptive Drainage (CAD), for which many practical gaps in knowledge remain. Also, soil mulching, of which a special case is considered in more detail, i.e., using plastic covers, may be beneficial for many purposes, including improving the water and salt balances of the root zone. However, use of plastics may have significant adverse effects. Due to water shortage, also wastewater may be re-used for irrigation. For this reason, the hazard of sodicity due to elevated Na concentrations in domestic wastewater is highlighted.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCurrent perspective on irrigation and drainage
EditorsSuren Kulshreshtha, Amin Elshorbagy
ISBN (Electronic)9789535129523
ISBN (Print)9789535129516
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

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    van der Zee, S. E. A. T. M., Stofberg, S. F., Yang, X., Liu, Y., Islam, M. N., & Hu, Y. F. (2017). Irrigation and drainage in agriculture: a salinity and environmental perspective. In S. Kulshreshtha, & A. Elshorbagy (Eds.), Current perspective on irrigation and drainage (pp. 1-21). InTech.