UC COOPERATIVE EXTENSION CENTENNIAL: Improved leaching practices save water, reduce drainage problems
California Agriculture 68(3):77-77. https://doi.org/10.3733/ca.v068n03p77
Published online July 01, 2014
This 1962 article from the California Agriculture archives demonstrated that intermittent water applications—in the form of rainfall or sprinkler irrigation—leach unwanted or excess minerals from the topsoil much more effectively than the more-common ponded or flood applications.
Early research on improved leaching practices
1962 “Field studies conducted at Tule Lake provide striking evidence that ponding water is not always an efficient method of leaching. In some plots, as much as 6 acre-ft. of water per foot of soil depth was applied, yet the soil salinity was not reduced below one half of the original amount present. Of the six feet of water applied, the first one-half foot was responsible for the leaching obtained.
“During the winter months, 4 inches of rainfall was recorded. In this case the soil salinity was reduced by one half again, yet the quantity of water involved was 18 times less. Irrigation techniques can also be used to produce similar results. Reasons for these effects involve consideration of the structure of the soil and the variation in the pore velocity. Similar results have been found in other parts of the world. Reclamation of soils inundated by the sea in the Netherlands flood disaster of 1953 was more efficiently carried out by rainfall than by ponding.”