Prediction of chloride leaching from a non-irrigated, de-watered saline soil using the MACRO model
- 1Bowman Bishow Gorham PO Box 946, West Perth Western Australia, 6872.
- 2CSIRO Division of Water Resources, Private Bag PO Wembley, Western Australia, 6014.
- 3Murdoch University, Division of CSIOR Land and Water, Science, South Street, Murdoch, Western Australia, 6150.
Abstract. A pedon scale study was conducted to investigate the degree of chloride leaching from a de-watered saline soil profile in the non-irrigated wheatbelt region of south-western Australia. Within the surface 250mm of the soil profile was a dispersed layer acting as a hydraulic throttle. Soil water tensions and chloride concentrations were obtained over a two-year period over depths ranging from 0.2m to 1.5m. In the first year the soil surface remained untouched. In the second year, the throttle layer was fractured by ripping to a depth of 250mm. Rainfall, runoff and potential evaporation were also measured at the site. These data were used to calibrate and run the MACRO solute transport model using three surface treatment management scenarios: I. the soil surface remains unchanged (`Do nothing'); II. the soil surface is continually ripped; III. the soil surface is ripped followed by surface scaling. The time period required, effectively, to leach the chloride from the profile, to a depth of 1.5m, was predicted. Effective leaching would take at least 400 years and possibly in excess of 200,000 years for Treatment I, 5 years for Treatment II and 90 years for Treatment III. Macropores that were observed within the sub-surface soil profile played no significant role in the leaching of the chloride. However, the rip fractures were treated as macropores by the MACRO model and as such allowed greater infiltration of water that resulted in the mobilisation of chloride within the rest of the soil profile.