Sustainability of irrigated agriculture in the San Joaquin Valley, California

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doi: 10.1073/pnas.0507723102
Authors:Schoups, Gerrit; Hopmans, Jan W.; Young, Chuck A.; Vrugt, Jasper A.; Wallender, Wesley W.; Tanji, Ken K.; Panday, Sorab
Author Affiliations:Primary:
University of California, Davis, Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, Davis, CA, United States
Los Alamos National Laboratory, United States
Hydrogeologic, United States
Volume Title:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Source:Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 102(43), p.15352-15356. Publisher: National Academy of Sciences, Washington, DC, United States. ISSN: 0027-8424
Publication Date:2005
Note:In English. Supplemental information/data is available in the online version of this article. 29 refs.; illus., incl. geol. sketch maps
Summary:The sustainability of irrigated agriculture in many arid and semiarid areas of the world is at risk because of a combination of several interrelated factors, including lack of fresh water, lack of drainage, the presence of high water tables, and salinization of soil and groundwater resources. Nowhere in the United States are these issues more apparent than in the San Joaquin Valley of California. A solid understanding of salinization processes at regional spatial and decadal time scales is required to evaluate the sustainability of irrigated agriculture. A hydro-salinity model was developed to integrate subsurface hydrology with reactive salt transport for a 1,400-km2 study area in the San Joaquin Valley. The model was used to reconstruct historical changes in salt storage by irrigated agriculture over the past 60 years. We show that patterns in soil and groundwater salinity were caused by spatial variations in soil hydrology, the change from local groundwater to snowmelt water as the main irrigation water supply, and by occasional droughts. Gypsum dissolution was a critical component of the regional salt balance. Although results show that the total salt input and output were about equal for the past 20 years, the model also predicts salinization of the deeper aquifers, thereby questioning the sustainability of irrigated agriculture.
Subjects:Agriculture; Aquifers; Fresh water; Ground water; Gypsum; Irrigation; Land use; Salinity; Salinization; Soils; Sulfates; Sustainable development; Unsaturated zone; Water quality; Water resources; California; Fresno County California; San Joaquin Valley; United States; Hydro-salinity models; MODHMS; UNSATCHEM
Coordinates:N355500 N364500 W1193000 W1205000
Record ID:2008117507
Copyright Information:GeoRef, Copyright 2018 American Geosciences Institute.
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