Application of soil quality indices to assess the status of agricultural soils irrigated with treated wastewaters GEA – Environmental Soil Science Group, Department of Agrochemistry and Environment, University Miguel Hernández. Avda. de la Universidad s/n., 03202, Elche, Alicante, Spain
07 Mar 2013
Received: 19 November 2012 – Published in Solid Earth Discuss.: 13 December 2012 Abstract. The supply of water is limited in some parts of the Mediterranean region,
such as southeastern Spain. The use of treated wastewater for the irrigation
of agricultural soils is an alternative to using better-quality water,
especially in semi-arid regions. On the other hand, this practice can modify
some soil properties, change their relationships and influence soil quality.
In this work two soil quality indices were used to evaluate the effects of
irrigation with treated wastewater in soils. The indices were developed
studying different soil properties in undisturbed soils in SE Spain, and the
relationships between soil parameters were established using multiple linear
regressions. These indices represent the balance reached among properties in
"steady state" soils. This study was carried out in four study sites from
SE Spain irrigated with wastewater, including four study sites. The results
showed slight changes in some soil properties as a consequence of irrigation
with wastewater, the obtained levels not being dangerous for agricultural
soils, and in some cases they could be considered as positive from an
agronomical point of view. In one of the study sites, and as a consequence
of the low quality wastewater used, a relevant increase in soil organic
matter content was observed, as well as modifications in most of the soil
properties. The application of soil quality indices indicated that all the
soils of study sites are in a state of disequilibrium regarding the
relationships between properties independent of the type of water used.
However, there were no relevant differences in the soil quality indices
between soils irrigated with wastewater with respect to their control sites
for all except one of the sites, which corresponds to the site where low
quality wastewater was used.
Revised: 18 January 2013 – Accepted: 27 January 2013 – Published: 07 March 2013
Citation: Morugán-Coronado, A., Arcenegui, V., García-Orenes, F., Mataix-Solera, J., and Mataix-Beneyto, J.: Application of soil quality indices to assess the status of agricultural soils irrigated with treated wastewaters, Solid Earth, 4, 119-127, doi:10.5194/se-4-119-2013, 2013.