Exploring the potential of saline water irrigation as a climate change adaptation measure

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For the third installment of the Delta Talks, the CGIAR Initiative on Asian Mega-Deltas ( AMD ) and Wageningen University & Research ( WUR ) presented a webinar on the effects of saline water irrigation on crops cultivated in Tra Vinh, Vietnam. Ayodeji Deolu-Ajayi, a plant physiologist at the WUR Agrosystems Research, and Tran Thi Ngoc Bich, vice director of the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology at Tra Vinh University, presented the results of their study assessing the impact of saline water irrigation on crop growth and yield as well as salt accumulation in the soil.

Part of the Deltas under Pressure Project, the study aims to contribute to addressing salinity intrusion and drought caused by climate change and poor management practices affecting 11 of the 13 provinces in the Mekong River Delta of Vietnam. Exploring the potential of saline water irrigation to adapt to climate change, Dr. Deolu-Ajayi stressed the importance of mitigating the impact of the stresses while promoting crop productivity on saline-prone soils.

Based on semi-controlled greenhouse experiments, a significant reduction of beetroot and peanut yield only occurred at 2ppt continuous saline irrigation, according to . Dr. Ngoc Bich. For maize, on the other hand, he said that none of the salt concentrations showed a significant impact on crop yield linked to lower saline soil conditions of the crop in the experiments.

Dr. Deolu-Ajayi concluded that their experiment indicates the potential use of brackish water with moderate saline levels for irrigation as a climate change adaptation practice. However, she emphasized that the results were based on one growing season only, and further research is needed to study the long-term impact on the soil needs further elaboration.

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