Monitoring The Effect Of Irrigation With Gypsiferous Mine Wastewater On Crop Production Potential As Affected By Soil Water And Salt Balance

Jovanovic, N. Z.
Organization: The Southern African Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 10
Publication Date: Jan 1, 2004
Irrigation of agricultural crops may be a cost-effective option for the utilization of gypsiferous minewater as it may also create an opportunity to produce crops during the dry winter season on farm sin South Africa, such as in Mpumalanga. In this study, intensive field monitoring systems were developed and implemented to assess the feasibility and sustainability of irrigation with gypsiferous mine water. Soil water and salt balance components, as well as crop yields, were monitored in field trials carried out at Kleinkopjé and New Vaal Collieries (Anglo Coal), and at Syferfontein (Sasol). Field measurements indicated that high crop and pasture yields can be obtained, provided fertilization and irrigation water management are appropriate. Soil water and salt balances indicated that considerable amounts of minewater can be used and considerable masses of salts can be removed through precipitation of gypsum in the soil profile. With appropriate management, water and salt runoff and salt leaching can be intercepted, thereby minimizing the impact on groundwater. The SWB model is being validated through on-going monitoring. This will allow the use of the SWB model at other sites to predict the long-term impact of irrigation with mine water on soil and groundwater, as well as to run scenario simulations in order to recommend sustainable management of irrigation with minewater.
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