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Irrigation waters are never pure. All contain some dissolved salts. The amount may vary from a trace to concentrations so great that the water is unfit for use. The kind of salt in irrigation water may be even more important than the total amount. Borates in extremely low quantities, for example, may injure or kill crop plants. If the proportion of sodium in irrigation water is high, the soil may be gradually rendered unproductive. On the other hand, the salts may consist in part of essential plant nutrients or other helpful salts that aid in keeping soils productive.



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