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Abstract

Frequent droughts and their consequences result in the loss of groundwater, the deficiency of nutrients, the drying of surface water resources, and substantially more exploitation of the groundwater resources, which, altogether, cause the mobilization of saline waters to groundwater tables. This will impair the capacity of the aquifers and the quality of the water. The VIKOR method was applied to determine the best feasible solution according to the selected criteria including the local rainfall status in different years, soil permeability, land slope, and water quality indicators, including SAR, RSC, salinity for determination of groundwater resources quality and land-use restrictions in the Kashmar Plain in the northeast of Iran. The results of sampling performed on the Kashmar Plain showed that water quality was lost as one moved from the northern groundwater tables to the southern ones. The excessive use of groundwater resources, the downfall of the groundwater level, and subsequently, the increased salinity account for the loss of the agricultural water quality and the land-use restrictions. Furthermore, the results of the model within years 2010 and 2014 showed that if the current form of indiscriminate exploitation of groundwater resources is kept, it will lead to the mobilization of the salinity to the lowly-saline upstream regions. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on sustainable management of groundwater resources, control their indiscriminate exploitation, and minimize the damage to the groundwater tables in the study site. In addition, agronomists should work on limiting the use of agricultural land by modifying the cropping pattern and on using deficitirrigation methods.

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