Modeling Salinity Impact on Ground Water Irrigated Turmeric Crop
Soils in irrigated fields are impacted by irrigation water quality. Salts in the irrigation water may accumulate in the soil depending on amount of leaching, the quality of water and type of ions present. Salinity is an environmental hazard that is known to limit agriculture worldwide. The quality of irrigation water is thus of concern to agriculturists. More so is the impact it has on productivity. The objective of this study was to quantify the impact due to use of ground water of such quality, with respect to salinity, as found in Berambadi watershed of Southern India, under farmers‟ field conditions. Turmeric (Curcuma Longa L.) was used for the study, based on salt sensitivity, under furrow irrigation. Study sites were selected basing on quality of water, with respect to salinity, crop and irrigation method. Samples of both soil and water were collected from each site and analyzed in the laboratory. The samples were analysed for salinity, alkalinity, pH and Cations of Magnesium, Sodium, Calcium and potassium as well as Chlorides and Sulfates. In addition soil was analysed for texture and Organic matter content. Non destructive plant monitoring for Leaf area (Index), number of leaves and plant height was done up to 210 days from planting. Profile, up to 80 cm depth, soil moisture was monitored at six plots using TDR and surface, up to 6cm depth, soil moisture for all the plots using Theta probe. Potential yield was obtained using STICS 6.9 crop model while field yield was estimated from rhizomes average weight of three plants. For both potential and observed yield estimation, a plant density of 9 plants per M2 was used. The quality parameters in water were correlated to soil parameters and to crop growth and ultimate yield. Impact due to salinity was then identified and quantified using relative yield. Identified quality problems in terms of turmeric response were, salinity, alkalinity and pH there was significant positive correlation between irrigation water salinity and soil salinity. Some wide scatter was observed and could be indicative of irrigation management practices, soil texture difference and other local variations. Observed turmeric yield was significantly negatively correlated to soil salinity. There was a monotonically increasing gap between simulated and observed yield as salinity increased. The maximum observed yield was 71% of the potential. The highest impact due to salinity was observed at 2.1 dS/m amounting to 44 % yield reduction. Excessive chlorosis due to iron deficiency occurred at 24.5% as CaCO3 and pH 7.5. Irrigation water pH was normal as per the guidelines. Soil pH was not so varied; it ranged between 7.1-7.9 except for one site where it was 6. Within the 7.1-7.9 range there was no effect on crop and yield observed. Interaction of stress factors observed was between salinity and alkalinity. The other was rhizome rot disease. Loss of yield to salinity was significant but farmers have no specific plans to leach out salts nor do they have an idea that ground water quality can actually negatively impact productivity. Salinity in irrigation water was in the moderately saline range. While that in the soil was low to slightly saline but could increase given the management practices.
- Civil Engineering (CiE) 
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