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Water 2015, 7(6), 3103-3122; doi:10.3390/w7063103

Water Use Efficiency in Saline Soils under Cotton Cultivation in the Tarim River Basin

1
Institute of Soil Science and Land Evaluation, University of Hohenheim, Emil-Wolff-Str. 27, Stuttgart 70593, Germany
2
Key Laboratory of Oasis Ecology and Desert Environment, Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, Chinese Academic of Science, Urumqi 830011, China
3
Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Hohenheim University, Stuttgart 70593, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Markus Disse
Received: 9 January 2015 / Revised: 29 May 2015 / Accepted: 12 June 2015 / Published: 19 June 2015
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Abstract

The Tarim River Basin, the largest area of Chinese cotton production, is receiving increased attention because of serious environmental problems. At two experimental stations (Korla and Aksu), we studied the influence of salinity on cotton yield. Soil chemical and physical properties, soil water content, soil total suction and matric suction, cotton yield and water use efficiency under plastic mulched drip irrigation in different saline soils was measured during cotton growth season. The salinity (mS·cm−1) were 17–25 (low) at Aksu and Korla, 29–50 (middle) at Aksu and 52–62 (high) at Aksu for ECe (Electrical conductivity measured in saturation-paste extract of soil) over the 100 cm soil profile. The soil water characteristic curves in different saline soils showed that the soil water content (15%–23%) at top 40 cm soil, lower total suction power (below 3500 kPa) and lower matric suction (below 30 kPa) in low saline soil at Korla had the highest water use efficiency (10 kg·ha−1·mm−1) and highest irrigation water use efficiency (12 kg·ha−1·mm−1) and highest yield (6.64 t·ha−1). Higher water content below 30 cm in high saline soil increased the salinity risk and led to lower yield (2.39 t·ha−1). Compared to low saline soils at Aksu, the low saline soil at Korla saved 110 mm irrigation and 103 mm total water to reach 1 t·ha−1 yield and increased water use efficiency by 5 kg·ha−1·mm−1 and 7 kg·ha−1·mm−1 for water use efficiency (WUE) and irrigation water use efficiency (IWUE) respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: salinity; soil matric suction; soil osmotic suction; water use efficiency; Tarim River Basin salinity; soil matric suction; soil osmotic suction; water use efficiency; Tarim River Basin
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zhao, X.; Othmanli, H.; Schiller, T.; Zhao, C.; Sheng, Y.; Zia, S.; Müller, J.; Stahr, K. Water Use Efficiency in Saline Soils under Cotton Cultivation in the Tarim River Basin. Water 2015, 7, 3103-3122.

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