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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Desalinisation by zone leaching: laboratory investigations in a model sand-tank

M. S. Mirjat A B , D. A. Rose A C and M. A. Adey A
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development, Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK.

B Permanent address: Department of Irrigation and Drainage, Sindh Agricultural University, Tandojam, Sindh 70060, Pakistan.

C Corresponding author. Email: angela.kennedy@ncl.ac.uk

Australian Journal of Soil Research 46(2) 91-100 https://doi.org/10.1071/SR07112
Submitted: 3 August 2007  Accepted: 18 January 2008   Published: 18 March 2008

Abstract

We report a laboratory study in a model sand-tank to investigate improvements using partial ponding over the common method of leaching salts from soils by flooding the entire area above equally spaced subsurface drains. The physical basis of the theory developed by E. G. Youngs and P. B. Leeds-Harrison was demonstrated in the model. We traced the streamline patterns for complete ponding and 3 situations of partial ponding of the soil surface to demonstrate the flow paths. We also leached saline water, initially uniformly distributed in the sand, with sweet water and recorded the breakthrough curves of the leaching water for the same situations of complete and partial ponding. The results demonstrate that partial ponding is more effective than complete ponding in that it requires less time to carry solute towards the drain and saves water of good quality needed to leach salts through drains. They also confirm the theoretical findings that more uniform leaching with less water can be achieved by constraining the infiltrating area with bunds, initially flooding only the region midway between the drains and then progressively increasing the flooded area until the entire surface above the drains is ponded.

Additional keywords: drain model, leaching, miscible displacement, streamlines, two-dimensional flow, water conservation.


Acknowledgments

During this work Prof. Mirjat was on study leave from Sindh Agricultural University, Tandojam, Pakistan as a Postdoctoral Fellow sponsored by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. We thank Mr D. Keir for constructing the sand tanks and Dr E.G. Youngs for his constructive comments on an earlier version of the text.


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