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RESEARCH ARTICLE

Observation of water and solute movement in a saline, bare soil, groundwater seepage area, Western Australia. Part 2. Annual water and solute balances

Eiichi Shimojima A D , Ichiro Tamagawa B , Masato Horiuchi A , Robert J. Woodbury C and Jeffrey V. Turner C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Daido University, 40 Hakusui-cho, Minami-ku, Nagoya, 457-8532, Japan.

B River Basin Research Center, Gifu University, 1-1 Yanado, Gifu, 501-1193, Japan.

C CSIRO Land and Water, Private Bag No.5, Wembley, WA 6913, Australia.

D Corresponding author. Email: shimoji@daido-it.ac.jp; eiichi-s@kyoto.zaq.jp

Soil Research 54(1) 78-93 https://doi.org/10.1071/SR14340
Submitted: 28 November 2014  Accepted: 7 June 2015   Published: 22 December 2015

Abstract

Intensive hydrological and meteorological observations were used over 2 years at a small, salinised, bare soil, groundwater seepage area in Western Australia to determine annual water and solute balances and the processes mobilising and discharging saline groundwater. The study area of 40 m by 40 m comprised a two-layered (duplex) soil, with an upper permeable layer 0.3–0.4 m thick and a less permeable underlying layer. During the wet winter season, groundwater discharge from the study area corresponded to ~45% of the rainfall amount. The annual salt discharge from the area via groundwater flow was calculated to be ~2.1 kg/m2 as NaCl, which was almost the same as the salt mass stored in the upper layer in summer. A salt-discharge model was developed and showed that even though the bare soil, groundwater seepage area occupies only a few per cent of the total catchment area, the salt discharge from it was a large component of that from the total area. During the dry summer season, lateral groundwater flow did not occur. Rainfall that recharged and became stored water in the previous winter became the source of evaporation in the following summer, with 60–70% of the evaporated water in summer derived from stored water of the previous winter.

Additional keywords: dryland salinity, groundwater salinisation, semi-arid area, water and solute balances, Western Australia.


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