Irrigation Science

, Volume 31, Issue 5, pp 1009–1024

Modeling the effects of saline water use in wheat-cultivated lands using the UNSATCHEM model

  • Fatemeh Rasouli
  • Ali Kiani Pouya
  • Jiří Šimůnek
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00271-012-0383-8

Cite this article as:
Rasouli, F., Kiani Pouya, A. & Šimůnek, J. Irrig Sci (2013) 31: 1009. doi:10.1007/s00271-012-0383-8

Abstract

Waters of poor quality are often used to irrigate crops in arid and semiarid regions, including the Fars Province of southwest Iran. The UNSATCHEM model was first calibrated and validated using field data that were collected to evaluate the use of saline water for the wheat crop. The calibrated and validated model was then employed to study different aspects of the salinization process and the impact of rainfall. The effects of irrigation water quality on the salinization process were evaluated using model simulations, in which irrigation waters of different salinity were used. The salinization process under different practices of conjunctive water use was also studied using simulations. Different practices were evaluated and ranked on the basis of temporal changes in root-zone salinity, which were compared with respect to the sensitivity of wheat to salinity. This ranking was then verified using published field studies evaluating wheat yield data for different practices of conjunctive water use. Next, the effects of the water application rate on the soil salt balance were studied using the UNSATCHEM simulations. The salt balance was affected by the quantity of applied irrigation water and precipitation/dissolution reactions. The results suggested that the less irrigation water is used, the more salts (calcite and gypsum) precipitate from the soil solution. Finally, the model was used to evaluate how the electrical conductivity of irrigation water affects the wheat production while taking into account annual rainfall and its distribution throughout the year. The maximum salinity of the irrigation water supply, which can be safely used in the long term (33 years) without impairing the wheat production, was determined to be 6 dS m−1. Rainfall distribution also plays a major role in determining seasonal soil salinity of the root zone. Winter-concentrated rainfall is more effective in reducing salinity than a similar amount of rainfall distributed throughout autumn, winter, and spring seasons.

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fatemeh Rasouli
    • 1
  • Ali Kiani Pouya
    • 1
  • Jiří Šimůnek
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Salinity ResearchFars Research Center for Agriculture and Natural ResourcesZarghanIran
  2. 2.Department of Environmental SciencesUniversity of California RiversideRiversideUSA