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Overland water and salt flows in a set of rice paddies

AuthorsPlayán Jubillar, Enrique ; Pérez-Coveta, Olga ; Martínez-Cob, Antonio ; Herrero Isern, Juan ; García-Navarro, Pilar; Latorre Garcés, Borja ; Brufau, Pilar; Garcés, J.
Issue DateJun-2008
CitationAgricultural Water Management, Volume 95, Issue 6, June 2008, Pages 645-658
AbstractCultivation of paddy rice in semiarid areas of the world faces problems related to water scarcity. This paper aims at characterizing water use in a set of paddies located in the central Ebro basin of Spain using experimentation and computer simulation. A commercial field with six interconnected paddies, with a total area of 5.31 ha, was instrumented to measure discharge and water quality at the inflow and at the runoff outlet. The soil was classified as a Typic Calcixerept, and was characterised by a mild salinity (2.5 dS m 1) and an infiltration rate of 5.8 mm day-1. The evolution of flow depth at all paddies was recorded. Data from the 2002 rice growing season was elaborated using a mass balance approach to estimate the infiltration rate and the evolution of discharge between paddies. Seasonal crop evapotranspiration, estimated with the surface renewal method, was 731 mm (5.1 mm day-1), very similar to that of other summer cereals grown in the area, like corn. The irrigation input was 1,874 mm, deep percolation was 830 mm and surface runoff was 372 mm. Irrigation efficiency was estimated as 41%. The quality of surface runoff water was slightly degraded due to evapoconcentration and to the contact with the soil. During the period 2001-2003, the electrical conductivity of surface runoff water was 54% higher than that of irrigation water. However the runoff water was suitable for irrigation. A mechanistic mass balance model of inter-paddy water flow permitted to conclude that improvements in irrigation efficiency can not be easily obtained in the experimental conditions. Since deep percolation losses more than double surface runoff losses, a reduction in irrigation discharge would not have much room for efficiency improvement. Simulations also showed that rice irrigation performance was not negatively affected by the fluctuating inflow hydrograph. These hydrographs are typical of turnouts located at the tail end of tertiary irrigation ditches. In fact, these are the sites where rice has been historically cultivated in the study area, since local soils are often saline-sodic and can only grow paddy rice taking advantage of the low salinity of the irrigation water. The low infiltration rate characteristic of these saline-sodic soils (an experimental value of 3.2 mm day-1 was obtained) combined with a reduced irrigation discharge resulted in a simulated irrigation efficiency of 60%. Paddy rice irrigation efficiency can attain reasonable values in the local saline-sodic soils, where the infiltration rate is clearly smaller than the average daily rice evapotranspiration.
DescriptionThe final version is available at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/journal/03783774
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.agwat.2008.01.012
Appears in Collections:(EEAD) Artículos
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