Impacts of sodic soil amelioration on deep drainage

Reading, Lucy, Lockington, David, Bristow, Keith, & Baumgartl, Thomas (2010) Impacts of sodic soil amelioration on deep drainage. In Proceedings of 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for a Changing World, Brisbane, Qld, pp. 97-100.

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Groundwater tables are rising beneath irrigated fields in some areas of the Lower Burdekin in North Queensland, Australia. The soils where this occurs are predominantly sodic clay soils with low hydraulic conductivities. Many of these soils have been treated by applying gypsum or by increasing the salinity of irrigation water by mixing saline groundwater with fresh river water. While the purpose of these treatments is to increase infiltration into the surface soils and improve productivity of the root zone, it is thought that the treatments may have altered the soil hydraulic properties well below the root zone leading to increased groundwater recharge and rising water tables. In this paper we discuss the use of column experiments and HYDRUS modelling, with major ion reaction and transport and soil water chemistry-dependent hydraulic conductivity, to assess the likely depth, magnitude and timing of the impacts of surface soil amelioration on soil hydraulic properties below the root zone and hence groundwater recharge. In the experiments, columns of sodic clays from the Lower Burdekin were leached for extended periods of time with either gypsum solutions or mixed cation salt solutions and change s in hydraulic conductivity were measured. Leaching with a gypsum solution for an extended time period, until the flow rate stabilised, resulted in an approximately twenty fold increase in the hydraulic conductivity when compared with a low salinity, mixed cation solution. HYDRUS modelling was used to high light the role of those factors which might influence the impacts of soil treatment, particularly at depth, including the large amounts of rain during the relatively short wet season and the presence of thick low permeability clay layers.

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ID Code: 90875
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2010 19th World Congress of Soil Science, Soil Solutions for a Changing World
Deposited On: 01 Dec 2015 02:50
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2015 04:18

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