The use of saline waters for crop production - FAO irrigation and drainage paper 48

Table of Contents


J.D. Rhoades

US Salinity Laboratory
United States Department of Agriculture
Riverside, California, USA

A. Kandiah

Water Resources, Development and Management Service
Land and Water Development Division, FAO and

A.M. Mashali

Soil Resources, Management and Conservation Service
Land and Water Development Division, FAO


The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.

M-56 ISBN 92-5-103237-8

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© FAO 1992

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Table of Contents



Executive summary

Chapter 1 - Introduction

Chapter 2 - Saline waters as resources

Quality characteristics of saline waters

Definitions and Indices of Salinity Related Parameters
Classification of Saline Waters

Sources and availability of saline waters

Chapter 3 - Examples of use of saline waters for irrigation

United States of America

Chapter 4 - Water quality assessment

Concerns and limitations

Effects of Salts on Soils
Effects of Salts on Plants
Effects of Salts on Crop Quality

Criteria, Standards and Considerations in the Assessment of the Suitability of Saline Water for Irrigation and Crop Production

Criteria and Standards for Assessing Suitability of Saline Water for Irrigation
Considerations in Assessing Permeability and Tilth Hazards
Considerations in Assessing Salinity and Toxicity Hazards

Methods and models for assessing the suitability of saline water for irrigation and crop production

Use of the Watsuit Computer Model
Description of input requirements and operation of Watsuit model
Example of use of the Watsuit model
Use of a Non-computer Version of Watsuit Model
Use of a production-function model

Chapter 5 - Environmental and ecological aspects

Nature and causes of environmental problems

Soil degradation (salinization and waterlogging)
Water pollution
Ecosystem disturbances
Water-borne diseases

Impacts of blending on water usability and pollution

Chapter 6 - Management principles and practices for safe use of saline water

Management guiding principles
Management for crop production

Growing suitably tolerant crops
Managing seedbeds and grading fields to minimize local accumulations of salinity
Managing soils under saline water irrigation
Operating delivery systems efficiently
Irrigating efficiently
Monitoring soil water and salinity and assessing adequacy of leaching and drainage

Management for environmental protection

Practices to control salinity in water resources
Integrated strategy to facilitate the use of saline waters for irrigation, to minimize drainage disposal problems and to maximize the beneficial use of multiple water sources