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

  • Author(s): Zikalala, P
  • Kisekka, I
  • Grismer, M
  • et al.
Abstract

© 2019 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. 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.

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