By Barton E. Worthington
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Additional resources for Arid Land Irrigation in Developing Countries. Environmental Problems and Effects
If sodium reaches 60-70 percent of the cations, the process of accumulation of exchange able sodium in the irrigated soil gradually leads to alkalinization. This does not occur if waters with mineralization of 2-5 g/1 have dissolved gypsum in their composition. Mineralized waters can be safely used for irrigation of light textured sandy or gravelly soils with high water permeability, low water-holding capacity and low absorbing power. It is now recognized that the universal criteria for judging the quality of irrigation water may not be applicable to conditions prevailing in areas having poor natural drainage and high water table.
This may appear in a population relocated in a formerly inhabited tse-tse fly area, as near the Kariba reservoir in Zambia. Changes of floral composition, growth of trees along irrigation canals, increased air humidity, extensive introduction of cattle, may result in a tse-tse fly proliferation, as in Southern Sudan. Schistosomiasis. Schistosomiasis in its urinary and intestinal forms, as transmitted by aquatic or amphibious snails, represents a major danger to irrigation schemes in hot arid lands.
Crop production through irrigation is threatened among other things by un wanted growth of weeds as water and nutrients become available to the reclaimed field areas. Such weeds may invade reclaimed areas through human activities: transport of soil, crop seed impurities, but there are other sources, among which is the native flora of the area. Some of these might become a problem. So the native species of the area, flora or fauna, should be surveyed for potential pest species. 42 INTEGRATION OF IRRIGATION Fisheries and fish farming The availability of water, both static and flowing, gives opportunity for fisheries, a form of land and water use which may be integrated with irrigated agriculture in favorable circumstances.