Next Article in Journal
Spatial Evolution of Producer Service Sectors and Its Influencing Factors in Cities: A Case Study of Hangzhou, China
Next Article in Special Issue
Making Conventional Agriculture Environmentally Friendly: Moving beyond the Glorification of Organic Agriculture and the Demonization of Conventional Agriculture
Previous Article in Journal
Evaluation of Advertising Campaigns on Social Media Networks
Open AccessArticle

Leveraging Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture via Desalination: Evidence from a Macro-Data Case Study in Israel

by Eran Raveh 1 and Alon Ben-Gal 2,*
1
Department of Fruit Trees, Institute of Plant Science, Agricultural Research Organization, Gilat Research Center, Mobile Post Negev 85280, Israel
2
Department of Environmental Physics and Irrigation, Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization, Gilat Research Center, Mobile Post Negev 85280, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 974; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10040974
Received: 15 February 2018 / Revised: 13 March 2018 / Accepted: 23 March 2018 / Published: 27 March 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Agriculture: The State of the Great Debates)
Israel has been a global frontrunner in (a) irrigation water application efficiency; (b) utilization of non-conventional (recycled and brackish) water supplies containing salts for irrigation; and recently (c) large-scale seawater desalination to provide water. Irrigation with water high in salts in many dry regions has been shown to be non-sustainable, mostly due to contamination of soils, subsoils, and groundwater resulting from the application and leaching of salts. We hypothesized that the move to desalination would reverse prior problematic trends of salinization and provide a path to sustainable irrigated agriculture in Israel and similar environments. To investigate effects of desalination in Israel on the status of salinity trends, we evaluated citrus leaf sodium, chloride, and magnesium in the years since the onset of large-scale national desalination in 2008 and examined fresh produce in the country for sodium and magnesium. We found remarkable reversal of previous trends until 2006, when salinity was found to rise consistently, in the recent data showing decreases of 20, 34, and 30% for Na, Cl, and Mg, respectively. A tendency for Israeli produce to be high in concentrations of salts compared to international standards was also reversed following large-scale desalination. Sodium in Israeli fresh produce is no longer much higher than that expected in equivalent sources in the USA while magnesium is lower in Israel fruits and vegetables compared to USDA standards. We present these results and trends to support the argument that desalination can allow and promote sustainable irrigated agriculture in the world’s dry areas. View Full-Text
Keywords: seawater desalination; recycled wastewater; salinity; sodium; magnesium; chloride; citrus seawater desalination; recycled wastewater; salinity; sodium; magnesium; chloride; citrus
Show Figures

Figure 1

MDPI and ACS Style

Raveh, E.; Ben-Gal, A. Leveraging Sustainable Irrigated Agriculture via Desalination: Evidence from a Macro-Data Case Study in Israel. Sustainability 2018, 10, 974.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Article Access Map by Country/Region

1
Back to TopTop