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Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia



Omar A. Al-Harbi, G. Hussain and O. Lafouza
 
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ABSTRACT

Groundwater and drainage water samples were collected from Al-Mendasah area, North-West of Al-Madinah Al-Munawarrah for irrigation water quality evaluation. The well waters were classified as C4S2 to C4S4 waters i.e., very high salinity and medium sodium to severely saline and very high sodium waters. The drainage waters were classified as C3S2 to C4S3 i.e., high salinity and medium sodium to severely saline and high sodium waters. The groundwater is dominated by Na and Cl ions. The Saturation Indices (SI) showed that the groundwater is unsaturated with respect to anhydrite, halite, gypsum and fluorite; and saturated with respect to calcite and dolomite. The concentration of calcium is much higher than that of Mg. The nitrate contents are much higher than the recommended safe limits of 30 mg L-1 for drinking and other uses. The fluorite (F) concentration in 40% of well waters was higher than the recommended safe limits for drinking water. The strong correlation between SAR vs. adj. SAR and adj. RNa, Na vs. Cl, Mg vs. Cl and Mg vs. SO4 ions indicate the dissolution and precipitation reactions in the rock-water interface that affect groundwater chemistry. The soil infiltration rate will not be affected either by well water or drainage water irrigation. Only, 12% well waters are safe for irrigation directly without serious soil and crop production problems. The use of remaining 78% well waters requires the adoption of certain management practices such as adequate drainage, selection of salt tolerant crops and application of leaching requirements.

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  How to cite this article:

Omar A. Al-Harbi, G. Hussain and O. Lafouza, 2009. Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia. International Journal of Soil Science, 4: 123-141.

DOI: 10.3923/ijss.2009.123.141

URL: https://scialert.net/abstract/?doi=ijss.2009.123.141
 

INTRODUCTION

Rapid growth in urban and rural sectors not only increased the demand for water consumption but also caused significant increases in wastewater production (Anonymous, 1992). Wastewaters contain organic and inorganic pollutants. Its land disposal can influence the groundwater quality thus rendering it unfit for irrigation and other uses.

Saudi Arabia is an arid country with a total land area of 2.253x106 km2. The total cropped area in the Kingdom has increased from 1.25 million ha in 1988 to 1.59 million ha by 1994 (Anonymous, 1992). As a result, the demand for irrigation water increased from 1.75 billion

m3 in 1975 to 22.93 billion m3 in 1992 (Dabbagh and Abderrahman, 1997). Currently, more than 80% of water demand in agriculture sector is met from non-renewable groundwater sources (Anonymous, 1992).

To meet the growing demand for water in agriculture sector and to augment the existing irrigation supplies, evaluation of groundwater and drainage water quality is important. For example, from Capital City Riyadh about 100 million m3 is discharged in Wadi Hanifah annually (Al-Degaither, 1992). Another 11.64 million m3 per annum of drainage water in Al-Ahsa Oasis (Anonumous, 1984) is being disposed off in the open lakes, which can contaminate the groundwater easily due to sandy nature of the soil. In the study area more than 2 million m3 year-1 of treated and untreated sewage water is discharged in Wadi Al-Aqiaq.

Presently, there is a lot of awareness regarding groundwater pollution and environmental health hazards that may result from the use of treated and untreated wastewater. Thus, there is a growing concern regarding the reuse of wastewater. Presence of certain toxic elements such as Pb, Ni, Cd, Co, Cu, Mo, Hg etc. in the wastewaters may create some environmental problems and needs evaluation prior to its use in agriculture.

In Saudi Arabia, there are a number of sources, which have lead to the degradation of quantity and quality of the groundwater. Over-exploitation and excessive pumping causes salt-water intrusion in coastal areas and brine water transport to the surface deeper formations inland (Abdul-Fattah et al., 1978; Al-Ibrahim, 1991). Seepage of sewage from septic tanks and cesspools are responsible for the deterioration of both chemical and biological quality of some well waters (Allael-Din et al., 1992). Agricultural related sources such as irrigation water, pesticides, organic and inorganic fertilizers are also another source of groundwater contamination. Numerous severe cases of groundwater contamination have been documented worldwide (Fried, 1975; Jackson, 1980; Chalapati et al., 1986).

Allael-Din et al. (1992) stated that five percent of the well water samples in 1989 contained high level of nitrate, ammonium and fecal coliform in Saudi Arabia. They also concluded that human and animal wastes are primary continuous sources of pollution in the well water samples tested. Raveendran and Madany (1991) investigated the quality of groundwater and tape water throughout Bahrain. They highlighted the deterioration of groundwater in localized areas with respect to nitrite, nitrate, ammonia and phosphate. The concentration of nitrate (NO3) ranged from 1.3-23.3 mg L-1 as NO3-N with an average value of 4.4 mg L-1. El-Arabi et al. (1997) studied the impacts of sewage-based irrigation on groundwater based on available monitoring data in Egypt. The main objectives of study were:

To determine the groundwater chemistry of Al-Mendasah area

To determine wastewater chemistry that is discharged into the Wadi stream

To classify the groundwater and drainage water for agriculture

MATERIALS AND METHODS

Geomorphology and Geology of the Area
The study area is located in the North-West of Al-Madinah Al-Monawarah in the Arabian Shield and lies between latitude 24°00' and 24°40' N longitude 39° and 39° 20' E (Fig. 1).

Al-Mendasah area is a flat plain where three major wadis converge (Al-Aqiq, Malal and Boat). It is covered by alluvial deposits, belonging to the Quaternary period, which constitutes the principal groundwater aquifer of the area. These deposits are gravel, sand, clay and sabkha deposits.


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 1:

Geological and sample location map (Pellaton, 1981)

In the study area, the rocks of Arabian Shield represent the two main groups, Alys group and the overlying Furayh group (Fig. 1). The Alys group consists of intermediate mafic volcanic rocks, epiclastic volcanic rocks and tuff with numerous intercalation of silicic lava. The Furayh group, being an andesitic-basaltic formation, shows sporadic development of conglomerate and sandstone at its base. Non-volcanic terrigenous sedimentary rocks characterize the upper part of the group (Pellaton, 1981).

A total of 33 well water samples were collected from different locations in Al-Mendasah area. The samples location is shown in Fig. 1. One liter of water sample was collected in a sterile plastic bottle, then sealed properly and stored in an ice chest before transferring to the analytical laboratory. The water samples were analyzed for all cations, anions and other anions such as NO3, PO4 and fluoride (F) by following procedures given by Richards (1954).

The criteria used to evaluate quality of groundwater for irrigation are:

Soil Salinity Development (SSD) after irrigation for its negative effects on plant growth according to Ayers and Westcot (1985)

Sodium Adsorption Ratio (SAR) for its deleterious effect on soil physical properties (Bower et al., 1968)

Residual Sodium Carbonate (RSC) for its effects on final soil water SAR value with the loss or gain in Ca and Mg concentration due to the precipitation or dissolution of alkaline earth carbonates (Bower et al., 1968)

The Toxic effects of specific ions in irrigation water such as Na, Cl and B on plant growth and yield (Eaton, 1942)

In addition to the above water quality indicators for irrigation, some mathematical equations and models were applied to evaluate the data on water quality for its possible use in agriculture. Soil Salinity Development (SSD), adjusted sodium adsorption ratio (adj. SAR), adjusted Na Ratio (adj. RNa) and Exchangeable Sodium Percentage (ESP) were calculated from the analytical data.

The SSD was calculated according to Ayers and Westcot (1985), the adj. SAR was calculated by following the procedure of Ayers and Westcot (1985), the adj.RNa was determined according to Suarez (1981) and the ESP was predicted according to the procedure described by USDA (1954).

The salinity and sodicity hazards of the wastewaters were determined according to the classification given by USDA (1954).

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION

Chemistry of Groundwater
The order of abundance for cations was Na>Ca>Mg and that of anions was Cl>SO4>HCO3 mg L-1 (Table 1). The correlation was highly significant between Na and Cl ions (R2 = 0.936) as the Na and Cl are the dominant cation and anion, respectively in the groundwater of Al-Mendasah wells. The groundwater of Al-Mendasah wells is mainly Na and Cl type water. A strong relationship existed between SAR and the corresponding calculated adj.SAR and adj. RNa of the groundwater indicating that up to 79% of the total well waters in the study area can create soil sodicity hazard if used for irrigation (Fig. 2).

The groundwater was classified as C4S2 to C4S4 i.e., very high salinity and medium sodium to very high salinity and very high sodium waters according to USDA, 1954 (Fig. 3). Also, the groundwater of the study area can be used for crop irrigation if certain management practices such leaching requirement (depending on the total water salinity and soil type), cultivation of medium to high salt tolerant crops and the improved irrigation systems (drip or subsurface) are adopted.


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 2:

Relationship between SAR vs. adj.SAR adj.RNa

Table 1:

Chemical composition of groundwater (mg L-1)

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Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 3:

Classification of well waters according to USDA, 1954

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 4:

Relationship between Na and Cl contents of well water

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 5:

Relationship between Mg vs. Cl

Ion Inter-Relationships
The regression analysis showed a strong relationship between Na and Cl ions (R2 = 0.869) and Mg vs. Cl (R2 = 0.766) followed by poor relation between Ca vs. Cl (R2 = 0.288) ions in descending order (Fig. 4-6).

The relationship was poor between Ca and SO4 (R2 = 0.057) and strong between Mg and SO4 ions (R2 = 0.636) in the groundwater of Al-Mendasah wells (Fig. 7-8). With increasing SO4 concentration, the Mg ion tended to increase whereas the Ca ion showed a decreasing trend indicating possible interactions between the aqueous and solid phases minerals due to gypsum (CaSO4) precipitation.

The Ca/Mg ratio (0.35-4.52) showed that Ca concentration is 0.4-4.52 times higher than Mg in the groundwater of Al-Mendasah wells (Table 2). This indicated that Ca dominant soils are likely to develop with these waters after irrigation thus improving the soil structure. The Cl/SO4 ratio showed Cl as the dominant anion and ranged from 0.29-3.61 in the groundwater of Al-Mendasah. Besides, high Cl ion concentration can create chlorosis problem in some fruit tress (citrus and lemon) which could be overcome by applying leaching requirement to maintain its concentration within safe limits (Table 2). The high Cl concentration in the groundwater could be attributed to the dissolution of chloride minerals from the outcrop of sabkha deposits surrounding the area during heavy rain storms thus recharging the aquifer through deep percolation.


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 6:

Relationship between Ca vs. Cl

Table 2:

Saturation indices and ionic ratios of well waters

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Anhy: Anhydrite, Dolo: Dolomite, Gyp: Gypsum, Fluo: Fluorite

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 7:

Relationship between Ca vs. SO4

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 8:

Relationship between Mg vs. SO4

Nitrate (NO3) Concentration of Groundwater
Mean nitrate concentration (mg L-1) ranged between 49-207 mg L-1 in the groundwater of Al-Mendasah wells (Table 1). The groundwater contains very high level of nitrate contents, which are beyond the permissible safe limits for drinking (30 mg L-1) and other uses according to WHO (1984) drinking water quality standards and can cause serious health hazards for young humans and certain animals.

Fluoride (F) Concentration of Groundwater
The fluoride (F) concentration (mg L-1) ranged from 0.51-2.20 in the groundwater of Al-Mendasah wells (Table 1). According to WHO (1984) guidelines, fluoride is an effective agent for preventing dental caries if taken in optimal amounts. Water is a major source of fluoride intake. The WHO (1984) guidelines suggested that in areas with a warm climate, the optimal fluoride concentration in drinking water should remain below 1 mg L-1, while in cooler climate it could go up to 1.2 mg L-1. The guidelines value (permissible upper limit) for fluoride was set at 1.5 mg L-1. However, the F concentration of groundwater in about 60% of water samples was within the permissible limits of WHO (1984). The SI value of fluorite mineral is negative in the groundwater of study area. This indicated more dissolution of F in water due to water-rock interaction especially during water flow through the fluoride bearing mineral rocks.

Chloride (Cl) Concentration of Groundwater
The Cl concentration in the groundwater is very high and ranged from 744-6773 mg L-1 (Table 1). Keeping in view the treated drainage water quality, the source of high Cl concentration in the groundwater could not be attributed to land disposal of treated or untreated effluent in Al-Mendasah area, but certainly there might be other sources of Cl ion intrusion into the groundwater of study area. The location map showed that the study areas is surrounded by many small and large tributaries entering the main Wadi and some sabkha areas. It seems that these sabkhas are saturated with chloride minerals which dissolve during the rainy season and contaminate the groundwater with brine seepage dominated by Na and Cl ions.

Saturation Indices
The chemical composition of natural waters is derived from many different sources of solutes including both gases and aerosols from the atmosphere and the weathering and erosion of rocks and soils. Dissolution and precipitation reactions of minerals occur below the soil surface where their concentration is influenced by many environmental factors, especially water-rock interaction (Lin and Clemency, 1980; Ronge and Claesson, 1982).

Saturation Indices (SI) were calculated for the groundwater of Al-Mendasah wells using the speciation code WATEQ4 (Ball and Nordstrom, 1992) and the PHREEQC model developed by Parkhurst (1995). Mean saturation indices of different minerals are given in Table 2. The groundwater is under-saturated (negative SI) with respect to certain minerals such as gypsum (SI = -9.4 to -1.02), anhydrite (SI = -9.97 to -1.02), halite (SI = -5.2 to -3.47) and fluorite (SI = -8.89 to -1.00) and oversaturated (positive SI) with respect to some other minerals such as Calcite (SI = 0.05-1.09) and dolomite (SI = 0.19-2.61). Actually, the SI is a measure of the thermodynamics state of a solution relative to the equilibrium with a specified solid-phase mineral. In the study area, most of the groundwater is under-saturated with respect to gypsum, anhydrite, halite, pyrite, fluorite and aragonite minerals. Therefore, the groundwater is capable of dissolving more minerals during rock-water interaction from the aquifer and simultaneously will increase both its porosity and the permeability.

Trace Elements and Heavy Metals
The concentration of the trace elements and heavy metals is very low in groundwater than the recommended safe limits for irrigation according to Ayers and Westcot, 1985 (Table 3). Therefore, there is no immediate concern of any environmental, health hazards and irrigation issues.

Effect of Water Quality on Soil Properties
Effect of groundwater was predicted on the soil salinity and sodicity hazards for crop production. The SAR of groundwater was calculated (Table 2). This information was used to calculate adj.SAR and adj.RNa, which accounts for alkalinity hazards and the exchangeable-sodium-percentage (ESP) of soil. The predicted Exchangeable-Sodium-Percentage (ESP) of soils resulting from groundwater irrigation is presented in Fig. 9. The predicted ESP values from simple SAR of water were much higher and indicated the development of severe soil sodicity problems because the upper safe limit of ESP in soils is 15 according to USDA, 1954. In the case of long term irrigation practices, the development of severe soil sodicity problem could be minimized if improvement management practices such as provision of adequate soil drainage, application of leaching requirement (application of 15-20% excess water above crop ET requirements) and application of available calcium soil amendments are adopted to maintain soil salinity and sodicity within safe limits.


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 9:

Relationship between SAR vs. Predicted ESP of Soils

Table 3:

Concentration of trace elements and heavy metals in groundwater (μg L-1 )

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
ND: Not deleted

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 10:

Predicted soil salinity against hypothetical leaching requirements

Development of soil salinity from groundwater irrigation was predicted using seven hypothetical leaching fractions ranging from 0.10-0.40 (Fig. 10). The data showed that up to 88% of well waters will develop soil salinity more than 8 dS m-1 which is considered as moderate to highly saline soil where the cultivation of moderate to high salt tolerant crops is possible without significant yield reduction provided 15% excess water above crop water requirements (ET) is applied as leaching requirement to maintain soil salinity within acceptable limits. The other suitable preposition is to use these waters on alternate basis i.e., one freshwater irrigation is followed by saline irrigation which will maintain soil salinity within safe limits for normal plant growth.

Infiltration Rate of Solis
The waters were classified for their effect on the infiltration rate of soils after irrigation (Fig. 11). It was found that these well waters will not affect the infiltration rate of soils upon irrigation as shown in the figure based on FAO Guidelines (Ayers and Westcot, 1985).

Chemistry of Treated Sewage Water
The order of abundance for cations was Na>Ca>Mg and that of anions was Cl>SO4>HCO3 mg L-1 (Table 4). The correlation was highly significant between Na and Cl ions (R2 = 0.979) in the treated sewage water of Al-Mendasah area. The treated sewage water is classified as Na.Cl-SO4 type water except one sample where it was Na-Cl-HCO3-SO4 type water. The correlation was very high between SAR and the calculated adj.SAR ( R2 = 0.781) and adj. RNa (R2 = 0.721) of treated sewage water (Fig. 12).

The groundwater was classified as C3S2 to C4S3 i.e., high salinity and medium sodium to very high salinity and high sodium waters according to USDA, 1954. The use of this water for irrigation can create soil sodicity problems (Fig. 13). Furthermore, the treated sewage water can be used for crop irrigation if management practices such as leaching requirement based on total water salinity and soil type, adoption of improved irrigation systems (drip or subsurface) and selection of medium to high salt tolerant crops are considered.


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 11:

Classification of well waters for infiltration hazards based on FAO guidelines

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 12:

Relationship between SAR vs. Adj.SAR and Adj.RNa of treated sewage water

Ion Inter-Relationships
The regression analysis showed a strong correlation between Na and Cl ions (R2 = 0.979) and Na vs SO4 (R2 = 0.991) (Fig. 14) as well as between Mg vs. Cl (R2 = 0.911) and Mg vs. SO4 (R2 = 0.943) (Fig. 15). However, the correlation was poor between Ca vs. Cl (R2 = 0.253) and Mg vs. SO4 (R2 = 0.247) (Fig. 16) in the treated sewage water of Al-Mendasah area. It was also observed that with an increase in SO4 concentration, the Mg ion tended to increase whereas the Ca ion showed a decreasing trend indicating possible interactions between the aqueous and solid phases minerals due to gypsum (CaSO4) precipitation.


Table 4:

Chemical composition of treated sewage water Al-Mendasah

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia

The Ca/Mg ratio with a range of 0.58-1.49 showed that Ca concentration is higher than Mg only in 29% of treated sewage water samples in Al-Mendasah area (Table 4). This indicated that Mg dominant soils are likely to develop with TSW irrigation and could result in ca deficiency in plants besides other related nutrient elements.

The Cl/SO4 ratio ranged from 2.29-2.90 in the treated sewage water (Table 4). The significantly high Cl concentration in treated sewage water indicates that a heavy dose of chlorine is being applied during water treatment process killing and preventing growth of different microorganisms in the treated sewage water to avoid bacterial infection from treated sewage water irrigation. Also, high Cl ion concentration can create chlorosis problem in some fruit tress (citrus and lemon) after irrigation (Table 4). The high Cl concentration in the groundwater indicates possible recharge of groundwater with the land disposal of treated sewage water in Al-Mendasah area.

Nitrate (NO3) and Phosphate (PO4) Concentration of Treated Sewage Water
Mean nitrate concentration (mg L-1) ranged from 30.00-39.70 (Table 4). The nitrate contents are within the permissible limits (45 mg L-1) for crop irrigation according to Ayers and Westcot (1985). The PO4 ion was absent the except in one sample of the treated sewage water where its concentration was 179 mg L-1.


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 13:

Classification of treated sewage water for Irrigation based on USDA method of classification



Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 14:

Relationship between Na vs. Cl and SO4 of Treated Sewage Water

Fluoride (F) Concentration of Treated Sewage Water
The fluoride (F) concentration (mg L-1) ranged from 0.39-0.76 in the treated sewage water and is within the recommended permissible limits of 1.0 mg L-1 for safe irrigation (Table 4).


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 15:

Relationship between Mg vs. Cl and SO4 of Treated Sewage Water

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 16:

Relationship between Ca vs. Cl and SO4 of Treated Sewage Water

 

Chloride (Cl) Concentration of Groundwater
The Cl concentration ranged from 301-947 mg L-1 (Table 4). The high Cl concentration in the treated sewage water could be attributed to the addition of chlorine during the water treatment process which depends on the total load of microorganisms in the raw sewage water. This further confirmed the hypothesis that high Cl contents in the treated sewage water could be the major source of high Cl concentration in the groundwater of Al-Mendasah area.

Saturation Indices
The treated sewage water is un-saturated (negative SI) with respect to gypsum (SI = -1.230 to -1.678), halite (SI = -4.852 to -5.664) and aragonite (SI = -0.008 to -0.396) and over-saturated (positive SI) with Calcite (SI = 0.032-0.506) and dolomite (SI = 0.042-0.633) (Table 5). In the study area, the treated sewage water is un-saturated with respect to gypsum, halite and aragonite minerals. Therefore, it is capable of dissolving more minerals by rock-water interaction during its flow in Wadi bed and percolation into the groundwater aquifer.


Table 5:

Saturation indices of treated sewage water in Al-Mendasah area

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 17:

Relationship between SAR and Predicted ESP of Soils

Trace Elements and Heavy Metals
The ranges for the concentration of different elements (expressed as parts per billion) were 11.1-71 (Fe), 2.1-25.20 (Mn), 8.5-10.70 (Cu), 0.78-3.77 (Co) and 12.80-264 (Zn) in the treated sewage water (Table 4). The concentration of all these elements was within the recommended upper limits for safe crop irrigation (Ayers and Westcot, 1985).

Effect of Water Quality on Soil Properties
Effect of irrigation with treated sewage water was predicted on the develop of soil salinity and sodicity hazards. The SAR of groundwater was calculated (Table 4). This information was used to calculate the exchangeable-sodium-percentage (ESP) of soil which accounts for alkalinity hazards. The predicted ESP values from simple SAR of water were much higher and indicated the development of severe soil sodicity problems because the upper safe limit of ESP in soils is 15 according to USDA, 1954 (Fig. 17). In the case of long term irrigation practices, the development of severe soil sodicity problem could be minimized if improvement management practices such as provision of adequate soil drainage, application of leaching requirement (application of 15-20% excess water above crop ET requirements) and application of available calcium soil amendments are adopted to maintain soil salinity and sodicity within safe limits.

Development of soil salinity was predicted from treated sewage water using five hypothetical leaching fractions ranging from 0.10-0.30 (Fig. 18). The data showed that irrigation with treated sewage water will develop soil salinity upto 8 dS m-1 and above which is considered as moderate to highly saline soil. Only cultivation of moderate to high salt tolerant crops is possible without significant yield reduction provided 15% excess water above crop water requirements (ET) is applied as leaching requirement to maintain soil salinity within acceptable limits.


Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 18:

Predicted soil salinity from treated sewage water salinity

Image for - Irrigation Water Quality Evaluation of Al-Mendasah Groundwater and Drainage Water, Al-Madenah Al-Monawarah Region, Saudi Arabia
Fig. 19:

Classification of treated sewage water for infiltration hazard based on FAO guidelines

Infiltration Rate of Solis
The Treated Sewage Water (TSW) was classified for its effect on the infiltration rate of soils after irrigation (Fig. 19). It was observed that irrigation with TSW will not affect the soil permeability characteristics according to FAO Guidelines (Ayers and Westcot, 1985).

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The authors thank King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) for supporting the study.

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20:  Parkhurst, D.L., 1995. User's guide to PHREEQC: A computer program for speciation, reaction path, active transport and inverse geochemical calculations. USGS Water Resources Investigations Report. ftp://ftp.nmt.edu/pub/geochem/PHREEQ/Current%20Phreeqci/DOC/MANUAL.PDF.

21:  Pellaton, C., 1981. eologic map of the Al-Madinah quadrangle. Sheet 24D, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Deputy Ministry for Mineral Resources Geologic Map GM-52C, Scale 250,000 with Text.

22:  Jackson, R.E., 1980. Aquifer Contamination and Protection. United nations Educational, Sciences and Cultural Organization, Paris, France

23:  USDA., 1954. Diagnosis and Improvement of Saline and Alakli Soils. USDA Handbook No. 60, United States Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC., USA., Pages: 160

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