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Water Salinity Solutions

Salt will dominate the water debate

 Much of Australia is an ancient sea bed. Every year we mobilise some 5 million tonnes of salt.  This salinity eventually finds its way back into the river system and is reapplied to our prime irrigated land, insidiously destroying our soils.

Need to flush

When we irrigate we apply some salt onto our land.  The solution is to flush out this salt by applying some extra irrigation water.

The wrong way

There is a right way and a wrong way of irrigation water flushing.  The wrong way is to apply an extra bit of flushing water on every irrigation.  This simply leads to a build up of salt just below the root zone which will migrate back to the roots under osmotic pressure.


The right way

The right way is to apply just enough water (or even slightly less) than the plants need, on each irrigation. This allows the soil to dry out below the root zone.  When the salt level has risen to the top end of being acceptable apply a much larger irrigation to flush the salt well away from the root zone.

How much and when?


The software program I-Planner calculates the amount of salt applied and flushed at each irrigation.  This automatically tells you when and how much water you need to apply.

Where does the salt go first, into the river?

If you are in a drained area the salt will be quickly flushed back into the river, if not it will still end up in the river,  it will just take a lot longer. Extra salt will also be entering the river from dry land salinity, each year about 5 million tonnes of salt is dumped into the Murray.

And after that? back onto our farms

There has been no flow out of the mouth of the Murray for over a year now.  That means all the salt that is dumped into the river is put back onto our premium irrigated land, which provides much of our food and rural wealth.

What must we do? flush the salt out to sea

We must ensure that there is enough water to flush the salt out to sea. Do not be deluded by the salt intercept schemes, they only remove a fraction of the salt entering the river.  There is simply no alternative to flushing the salt out to sea.



Live with the flood and drought cycle

Don't be conned by the bureaucrats, who like things nice and neat and orderly, nature is just not like that.  In times of drought water becomes a big issue and water saving is on the agenda. But the rains and floods will come back, this is the time when we should be flushing the salt off our land and filling our reservoirs with water ready for the next drought.



Those raving greenies

The federal pollies abdicate their responsibilities to the States, the State pollies just fight among themselves over who gets the water, anyone who thinks on a longer time scale than the next election is branded a raving greeny.  Most farmers want their land to be sustainable, the greenies want to protect environment. Both  both have the same interests, environmental flows in the rainy periods.


Change our policies

The politics of water, cheap and readily available water have encouraged the inefficient use of water. Policies need to reversed, water needs to be treated as a scarce and expensive commodity. Our farmers should not have to stand the costs, these inefficient practices have been encourage by bad policies in the past, they need help to become more efficient. 


Only one water salinity solution, the more effective use of water

There is only one water salinity solution, make better use of the water we have.  I prepare this web site as my contribution by focusing and publicizing technologies for the more effective use of water.

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email:colinaustin@bigpond.com


Last modified 31 Oct 02
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