Effects of Brackish Irrigation Water on Soil Properties
in the Jordan Valley/Jordan
Abstract: The Jordan Valley as a whole lies in one of the most fragile
agroecological zones of the world. The scarcity of rainfall and the extremely
high temperatures over several months contribute to the aridity of the
area. In the Jordan Valley, as in many other parts of the world, soil
moisture from rain and from groundwater is insufficient for the requirements
of plant life, so that water deficiency must be compensated by irrigation.
Although irrigation has been practiced throughout the world for several
millennia, it is only during the last decades that the importance of the
quality of irrigation water has been recognized, particularly in arid
climates. As good quality irrigation water becomes more and more limited
irrigated agriculture in the Jordan Valley makes increasingly use of treated
waste water or brackish (slightly saline) water.
This thesis investigates the influence of different types of irrigation
water irrigation water coming from King Abdullah Canal, irrigation
water coming from King Talal Dam (Zarqa River) and irrigation water coming
from one of the mineral rich springs, the Al Bueib springs on one
soil in the middle part of the Jordan Valley. The soil was classified
by the Jordan Valley Authority as Marly Side Slope Soil. This fallow soil,
that has not been cultivated and irrigated since many years was compared
with the permanently cultivated and irrigated soil to find out how soil
properties change over time.
To summarize the analysed boron, chloride, magnesium, nitrate-nitrogen,
potassium, manganese and iron concentrations are higher at the three soil
sites investigated than recommended in the corresponding quality standards.
The soil site irrigated by King Abdullah Canal water has the lowest salt
concentrations compared to the other two soil sites. Boron, chloride and
potassium concentrations are highest at the soil site irrigated by King
Talal Dam water. The heavy metal concentrations are highest at the soil
site irrigated by Al Bueib spring water. The results of the analysed soil
data reflect the quality of the irrigation water. Under trees the soil
directly reflects the composition of the litter. The main differences
between irrigated soil sites and virgin soil sites are the degree of moisture
in the soil that cause chemical reactions.
Paper language: english
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