Soil salinization and critical shallow groundwater depth under saline irrigation condition in a Saharan irrigated land

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In the arid irrigated lands, understanding the impact of shallow groundwater fluctuation on soil salinization has become crucial. Thus, investigation of the possible options for maintaining the groundwater depth for improving land productivity is of great importance. In this study, under saline irrigation condition, the effects of shallow groundwater depth on water and salt dynamics in the root-zone of date palms were analyzed through a particular field and modeling (SWAP) investigation in a Tunisian Saharan oasis (Dergine Oasis). The model was calibrated and validated against the measured soil water content through the date palm root-zone. The good agreement between measured and estimated soil water content demonstrated that the SWAP model is an effective tool to accurately simulate the water and salt dynamics in the root-zone of date palm. Multiple groundwater depth scenarios were performed, using the calibrated SWAP model, to achieve the optimal groundwater depth. The simulation results revealed that the shallow groundwater with a depth of ~80 cm coupled with frequent irrigation (20 days interval) during the summer season is the best practice to maintain the adequate soil water content (>0.035 (cm3 cm−3) and safe salinity level (<4 dS m−1) in the root-zone layer. The results of field investigation and numerical simulation in the present study can lead to a better management of lands with shallow water table in the Saharan irrigated areas.


External organisations
  • University of Sfax
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Geosciences, Multidisciplinary


  • Shallow groundwater, Soil salinization, Soil water content, SWAP
Original languageEnglish
Article number301
JournalArabian Journal of Geosciences
Issue number14
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jul 1
Publication categoryResearch