Utilization of brackish and canal water for reclamation and crop production

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Research Paper 01/03/2018
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Utilization of brackish and canal water for reclamation and crop production

Muhammad Anwar Zaka, Helge Schmeisky, Hafeezullah Rafa, Muhammad sarfraz, Khalil Ahmed
Int. J. Biosci.12( 3), 7-17, March 2018.
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In Pakistan farmers are being forced to use the underground water reserves which are 60 to 70% brackish in nature. The blind use of this resource without any management practice is building up salinity even in the soil that has high potential for crops.  However this precious natural reserve can be an effective alternate for soil reclamation. In present study a saline-sodic field (pHs = 9.30, ECe = 10.4 dS m-1 and SAR = 121.96 (mmol L-1)1/2, GR =3.40 t. ha-1} was selected, leveled and prepared. Gypsum was applied @ 0, 75, 100 and 125 % of GR. Each of this treatment was combined with brackish and canal water separately in split plot design. Gypsum was applied, mixed and leaching was provided either with brackish (EC =1.80 dS m-1 RSC = 5.8 mmol L-1 and SAR = 9.8 (mmol L-1 )1/2 or canal water (ECiw = 0.23 dS m-1  RSC= nil  and SAR =  0.14 (mmol L-1 )1/2 as per treatments. Rice and wheat crops were grown in sequence for two years. Paddy and wheat grain yield data were recorded at maturity. The recorded increase over control with gypsum (125 % GR) was 294 % in paddy and 182 % in wheat with brackish water while corresponding values for canal water were 177 and 143 %. The end value of ECe recorded after two year was lesser than critical limit of 4 dS m-1 in all treatments except control even in brackish water. The pHs and SAR also reduced with brackish water + gypsum application @125 % GR. The bulk density decreased from 7.1 to 20.0 % in brackish water and 11.18 to 19.08 % with canal water. More over an increase of 278 to 610 % in hydraulic conductivity was recorded with brackish water whereas the enhancement of this parameter with canal water varied from 370 to 576 %. It was concluded that brackish water can be utilized for reclamation of sandy clay loam soil and subsequent crop production provided that the application of gypsum is increased by 25 % of soil GR.


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