Assessment of the chemical quality of irrigation waters in the plain of Sidi Bel Abbès (northwestern Algeria).

A. E. M. Bellaredj


Abstract: The city of Sidi Bel Abbes is home to one of the most fertile plains of Algeria, where agriculture is mostly groundwater based.  Unfortunately, the quality of this water resource has been considerably deteriorated by pollution over time.  The present article aims to prove that the salinity hazard constitutes the main restrictive factor to the use of ground waters for irrigation in the plain of Sidi Bel Abbès. The chemical results demonstrate that ground waters are unbefitting for irrigation from a salinity point of view; the EC values show that said waters belong in their majority to the doubtful/unusable water class and the PS values reveal that their use for irrigation must be followed, either by an extensive leaching or by drainage of the irrigated soils. The chemical results also emphasize the toxicity of ground waters with respects to chloride. The concentrations in (Cl) exceed 350 mg/l for the majority of samples, making them harmful for most sensitive plants. On the other hand, the values of the ratios: SARadj, ESP, CROSS and PI illustrate that the sodium levels characterizing ground waters in the study area do not constitute a risk to the permeability, infiltration and structural stability of the soils in the plain of Sidi Bel Abbès.

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