Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Calibration and global sensitivity analysis for a salinity model used in evaluating fields irrigated with treated wastewater in the salinas valley


Treated wastewater irrigation began two decades ago in the Salinas Valley of California and provides a unique opportunity to evaluate the long-term effects of this strategy on soil salinization. We used data from a long-term field experiment that included application of a range of blended water salinity on vegetables, strawberries and artichoke crops using surface and pressurized irrigation systems to calibrate and validate a root zone salinity model. We first applied the method of Morris to screen model parameters that have negligible influence on the output (soil-water electrical conductivity (EC sw )), and then the variance-based method of Sobol to select parameter values and complete model calibration and validation. While model simulations successfully captured long-term trends in soil salinity, model predictions underestimated EC sw for high EC sw samples. The model prediction error for the validation case ranged from 2.6% to 39%. The degree of soil salinization due to continuous application of water with electrical conductivity (EC w ) of 0.57 dS/m to 1.76 dS/m depends on multiple factors; EC w and actual crop evapotranspiration had a positive effect on EC sw , while rainfall amounts and fallow had a negative effect. A 50-year simulation indicated that soil water equilibrium (EC sw ≤ 2dS/m, the initial EC sw ) was reached after 8 to 14 years for vegetable crops irrigated with EC w of 0.95 to 1.76. Annual salt output loads for the 50-year simulation with runoff was a magnitude greater (from 305 to 1028 kg/ha/year) than that in deep percolation (up to 64 kg/ha/year). However, for all sites throughout the 50-year simulation, seasonal root zone salinity (saturated paste extract) did not exceed thresholds for salt tolerance for the selected crop rotations for the range of blended applied water salinities.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View