Agricultural activities that dominated the tsunami-affected area included lowland paddy rice that was either rainfed or irrigated and home gardens. In the former case (rice based systems) surface flushing of salts may be effective in dissolving deposited salts. In all field based rehabilitation activities an adequate drainage system is a critical component in the overall reclamation process as these structures will transport soluble salts from the field. Consequently, existing drainage systems if damaged should be repaired and made functional. Furthermore, if drainage infrastructure has to be built, a comprehensive assessment of the costs/benefits associated with the rehabilitation process should be undertaken before making a decision to rehabilitate these areas. It must be noted that reconstructing drainage infrastructure is expensive and any decision to undertake major works should be the responsibility of the local or national government. Guidelines for rehabilitating drainage have been articulated by FAO and should be used.
Along with effective drainage, land levelling is critical in the reclamation of salt-affected soils and efficient irrigation management. Lands affected by salt inundation should be levelled prior to the commencement of surface flushing of salts. This can be achieved using sophisticated laser levelling devices or simple grader systems that can be tractor mounted.
Reclamation of water resources
Contaminated open and shallow tube wells can be reclaimed through natural flushing that will occur over the next wet season or by pumping and monitoring the electrical conductivity (EC). An acceptable EC for agricultural and drinking purposes would be <2 dS m-1.
Integrated Coastal Area Management (ICAM)
ICAM does not only refer to the adoption of an integrated approach for land use planning or ecosystem management, but also to a consultation and decision-making process involving all stakeholders in tsunami-affected areas, and to a comprehensive analysis and planning on the basis of the livelihoods of affected communities. ICAM is the accepted framework for long-term planning and thus naturally relates to reconstruction and development planning.