Water Quality Criteria For Irrigation Water In USA
| Water used for irrigation can affect crop yield and the physical conditions of the soil. That is why there is a water quality criteria for irrigation water in USA. Water quality can affect the fertility needs and longevity of a plant. Therefore, having knowledge of the irrigation water quality is very important for long term productivity.
Water Quality Criteria for Irrigation Water in USA:
Scientists in the US use the following categories to describe the effect of irrigation water quality on crop production and soil quality:
- Proportion of sodium to calcium and magnesium
- Specific ions like chloride, sulfate, boron and nitrate-nitrogen
Other factors that might affect the water quality for irrigation are the presence of heavy metals and microbes.
Scientists measure electrical conductivity, which is measure of total salt content in the water. This is calculated by means of flow of electrical current through the water. The higher the salinity in the water, the greater is the flow of electrical current.
Water also has carbonates and bicarbonates, which are salts of carbonic acid. When these combine with calcium or magnesium, the water turns alkaline. This alkalinity is weak and it can get stronger if the water has sodium carbonate present in it.
Calcium and magnesium are positively charged ions that are present in water. Calcium and magnesium after the salinity of the water and are used to estimate the amount of sodium present in the water. Along with calcium and magnesium even sodium is present in irrigation water. Sodium is usually associated with salinity problems when it combines with chloride and sulfide.
Chloride is negatively charged ion frequently present in irrigation water. The presence of chloride in water is used to establishing total acidity of the water and the possibility of toxicity of the water to sensitive crops.
The alkalinity or acidity, also known as pH, has a direct effect on the productivity of the crop. Most crops thrive in slightly acidic conditions.
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