A computer-based program for the assessment of water-induced contamination in irrigated lands
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The non-point characteristic of agrarian contamination hinders its quantification and assignation to a specific territory. The objectives of this work were to unify methodological criteria for agro-environmental evaluation and to propose indices to quantify irrigation-induced contami nation. The computer program Irrigation Land Environmental Evaluation Tool (in Spanish, EMR; http://www.jcausape.es/investigacion/EMR.htm) was developed to evaluate the quality of irrigation and the agro-environmental impacts, based on the water, salt, and nitrate balances in the hydrological irrigation basins. The behavior of the proposed indices was analyzed using data registered in various irrigation districts in the Ebro valley (Spain). The Salt and Nitrate Contamination Indices (SCI and NCI, respectively) were based on the unitary mass of exported pollutants, corrected by the “natural and socioeconomic” conditions of the irrigation districts evaluated. SCI and NCI were related to water and nitrogen use, key factors in minimizing contamination. SCI and NCI admit a greater mass of exported pollutants in disadvantaged irrigation districts, which does not allow the exclusion of adequate management in any evaluated irrigation lands. EMR is a user-friendly tool at the service of the agro-environmental surveillance of irrigation lands.
KeywordsAgro-environmental evaluation Water use Agrarian contamination Saline Contamination Index Nitrate Contamination Index
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