Application of Threshold Electrolyte Conductivity Assessment to routine evaluation of soil permeability impact from irrigation
Changes to the structural integrity and permeability of soils in response to irrigation with saline-sodic water, or the balance between soil ESP and EC, is far more variable than described by the widely accepted generic relationship described by Ayres and Westcot (1976, 1985). Soils may be far more susceptible to structural degradation, or far more stable than the generic relationship predicts. In conjunction with the National Centre for Engineering in Agriculture at the University of Southern Queensland, Verterra operationalised and further developed a test procedure for evaluation of the Threshold Electrolyte Conductivity of soils.
Reliable prediction of the change in permeably of varying soil types to irrigation with sodic coal seam gas water is critical to assessing suitability for irrigation development. The widely-held model for soil response to salinity provides only a generic indication of soil behaviour that rarely reflects actual behaviour.
Verterra engaged with the University of Southern Queensland to bring a procedure for assessment of soil permeability response to sodic irrigation out of the laboratory and into routine practice. The approach has subsequently been used widely in the CSG industry, and incorporated into the regulator’s guidelines.
Benefit to Client:
The availability of an efficient and repeatable approach to evaluation of Threshold Electrolyte Conductivity has enabled the specific behaviour of soils in response to irrigation with saline-sodic water to be evaluated. This provided clients with a means to assess the suitability and sustainability of soils for irrigation with water of varying qualities, and/or enabled redesign of irrigation water quality targets to minimise soil impacts. In turn, the availably and application of this test has supported the development of many thousands of hectares of coal seam has water irrigation development with an improved level of confidence.
- Market Sector: Oil and Gas
- Irrigated forest & fodder crops for beneficial use of waste water
- Soil surveying and land capability assessment
- Soil Science
- Location: Queensland
- Year: 2008 - 2014