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water unfit for agriculture

 
khurram haroon
Posts: 10
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hi dear Permies,

being an unqualified lover of Permaculture (i just love the idea without having any background education in any branch of farming), i bought some land (10 Acres) in my country (Pakistan). That's not a great landscape and the underground water quality is a big challenge for me to improve and use for farming, but that's the sort of property i could afford to buy. The soil texture has more sand and silt compared to clay in it and climate is hot and dry and summers are longer than winters.

I am sharing with you the testing results of my underground water (which i digged and found 470 feet below ground level, the water level in my area however is quite high: about ten feet just).

EC (Electrical Conductivity: 4110 uScm-1
Ca++ & Mg++ (Calcium + Magnesium): 9.0
Sodium (Na+): 32.1
Carbonate (CO3): Nill
Bicarbonate (HCO3): 10.4
Chloride: 6.2
RSC (Residual Sodium Carbonate): 1.4
SAR (Sodium absorption ratio): 15.1
TDS: 12.04


will you guys please help me by suggesting some practical and Permies' ways to improve the quality of this water.

rgds,
KH
 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
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I am not sure what the readings mean, but if you could explain which ones are considered too high and too low we can begin to think about what plants and organisms will help use up what there is too much of and add in what is missing.
 
khurram haroon
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i could find out ideal range of readings for only a few of these readings. which i've mentioned below against results of my water tests:

EC (Electrical Conductivity: 4110 uScm-1 (should be less than 1500)
Ca++ & Mg++ (Calcium + Magnesium): 9.0 (couldn't find out what is the ideal reading)
Sodium (Na+): 32.1 (couldn't find out what is the ideal reading)
Carbonate (CO3): Nill (dont know the ideal reading)
Bicarbonate (HCO3): 10.4 (dont know the ideal reading)
Chloride: 6.2 (should be less than 4.5)
RSC (Residual Sodium Carbonate): 1.4 (should be less than 1.25)
SAR (Sodium absorption ratio): 15.1 (should be less than or equal to 6)
TDS: 12.04

hope this info might help a bit to understand.

rgds,
KH

 
Dave Burton
pollinator
Posts: 1026
Location: Greater Houston, TX US Hardy:9a Annual Precipitation: 44.78" Wind:13.23mph Temperature:42.5-95F
109
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I understand one of the first things many people consider in desert areas is groundwater, but to change the system, maybe minimizing groundwater use would be helpful. Especially since the groundwater is not fit for agricultural use.

If there is enough humidity in your part of Pakistan, creating something that acts like a gabion or air well would be more useful.

Gabions and air wells work by the concept of thermal inertia. Heat is retained in the mass of objects during the day and released at night. Likewise, the lack of heat in the objects is stored throughout the day. As air passes through a gabion or touches the surface of an air well, the water condenses onto the surface of the object and trickles down into the soil.

Another technique that may be useful would be to use the local trees in your area to create a closed canopy that will protect the plants you are trying to grow. The native trees will provide shade, and in that shade, the air passing through will become cooler and condense on the surface of the trees.

The setup in this post about swales in Saudia Arabia and geoff lawton's Greening the Desert video provide good information.
 
S Bengi
Posts: 1356
Location: Massachusetts, Zone:6/7, AHS:4, Rainfall:48in even distribution
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Trees get their mineral/water by one of two way. with their own roots or by trading with mycelium. You are going to have to mulch with straw/hay/woodchip and let the mycelium do the heavy lifting and your fruit/nut trees can trade.

You can grow your own biomass (corn/rye/etc) for straw and then just cut it down, or beg/buy/trade with your neighbors.



Next you have to cut down evaporation by planting some fast growing overstory maybe some palms.
You should also plant some Nitrogen fixers. I would start out with 90% nitrogen fixers and as your fruit/nut trees get bigger and need more space, kill some of the nitrogen fixers, turning it into mulch/etc. Uhmm, if possible use drip irrigation.
 
Jason Lloyd
Posts: 16
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http://www.deltawater.com.au

I've just given a water sample to these guys because my water is killing my veggies, very salty bore water, but apparently this treatment works very well so am keen to try it out
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