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Title: Controlled water table management as a strategy for reducing salt loads from subsurface drainage under perennial agriculture in semi-arid Australia
Contributor(s): Hornbuckle, John (author); Christen, Evan W (author); Ayars, James E (author); Faulkner, Richard David  (author)
Publication Date: 2005
DOI: 10.1007/s10795-005-4420-0
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Abstract: Recent community based actions to ensure the sustainability of irrigation and protection of associated ecosystems in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) of Australia has seen the implementation of a regional Land and Water Management Plan. This aims to improve land and water management within the irrigation area and minimise downstream impacts associated with irrigation. One of the plan objectives is to decrease current salt loads generated from subsurface drainage in perennial horticulture within the area from 20 000 tonnes/year to 17 000 tonnes/year. In order to meet such objectives Controlled Water table Management (CWM) is being investigated as a possible ‘Best Management Practice’, to reduce drainage volumes and salt loads. During 2000–2002 a trial was conducted on a 15 ha subsurface drained vineyard. This compared a traditional unmanaged subsurface drainage system with a controlled drainage system utilizing weirs to maintain water tables and changes in irrigation scheduling to maximize the potential crop use of a shallow water table. Drainage volumes, salt loads and water table elevations throughout the field were monitored to investigate the effects of controlled drainage on drain flows and salt loads. Results from the experiment showed that controlled drainage significantly reduced drainage volumes and salt loads compared to unmanaged systems. However, there were marked increases in soil salinity which will need to be carefully monitored and managed.
Publication Type: Journal Article
Source of Publication: Irrigation and Drainage Systems, 19(2), p. 145-159
Publisher: Springer-Verlag
Place of Publication: Amsterdam and Dordrecht, The Netherlands
ISSN: 0168-6291
Field of Research (FOR): 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc)
Socio-Economic Outcome Codes: 960905 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Water Management
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: C1 Refereed Article in a Scholarly Journal
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