Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2014CA326B

Evaluation of Surface Water Quality on Soil Leaching Fraction and Alfalfa Yield in the Delta

Institute: California
Year Established: 2014 Start Date: 2014-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $16,450 Total Non-Federal Funds: $4,003

Principal Investigators: Michelle LeinfelderMiles

Abstract: The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta region is a unique agricultural region that is challenged by salinity. Alfalfa a predominant crop is moderately sensitive to salinity; and thus, to prevent harmful accumulation of salts and optimize yields, soils must be leached with a quantity and quality of water that pushes salts out of the root zone. The objective of this work is to gain knowledge on the current leaching fraction being achieved in south Delta alfalfa soils and update the state of knowledge on how surface water quality and rainfall affect the leaching fraction. Seven south Delta alfalfa fields will be selected for this project. Parameters to be measured include amount of winter rainfall; salinity measured as electrical conductivity and chloride ion concentration in spring and fall soil samples, groundwater, and irrigation water; and alfalfa yield. Anticipated outcomes and benefits include informing state water policy and providing localized information for growers on irrigation for effective salinity management.