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Salinity is a problem of irrigation agriculture and is recognized as a serious threat to crop production in the Western States. All water used for irrigation, whether diverted from surface stream or pumped from wells, contains dissolved salts in amounts varying from a few hundred pounds to several tons per acre-foot (8,23). Salts accumulating in the root zone of the soil, as water is removed by crop and by surface evaporation eventually, may restrict crop yields. Extensive areas of land in the Western States, which were at one time productive under irrigation, have been abandoned because of the development of saline or alkali conditions (15, 23). This outright abandonment of lands not only materially reduce total crop production but increases the burden on lands that are productive, by way of increased taxes, and per-acre cost of reclamation and construction. Depreciated land values and unfavorable social and economic changes often result. In addition to losses from abandonment of lands resulting from intense saline or alkali conditions, there are losses from reduced crop yields caused by lesser degrees of salinity. The latter go unrecognized and unheeded over large areas of irrigated land. It has been estimated that such losses may amount to as much as 10 to 25 percent (13).



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