Rice yield estimation based on forecasting the future condition of groundwater salinity in the Caspian coastal strip of Guilan Province, Iran

  • Hedyeh Pouryazdankhah
  • Ali ShahnazariEmail author
  • Mirkhalegh Z. Ahmadi
  • Mohammadreza Khaledian
  • Mathias N. Andersen


Irrigation water salinity is one of the factors that reduces agricultural production. Guilan Province is one of the most important rice-producing areas in Iran where groundwater is used for irrigation. The temporal and spatial variations of groundwater salinity were studied in the coastal strip covering 4285 km2 of the province using data from 73 wells, as well as its estimated effect on the rice yield. Data on mean electrical conductivity (EC) for each 6-month period of 12 consecutive years, from the second half of 2002 until the end of 2014, were analyzed and resulted in 25 mean ECs. EC maps and maps of the probability of higher salinity areas were obtained by using ordinary kriging (OK) and indicator kriging (IK) in ArcGIS 9.3 software, respectively. Thereby, areas belonging to different salinity classes were outlined and places with higher salinity reducing the rice yield were identified. In addition, the Mann–Kendall test and Sen’s slope were used to project future changes. The results indicated that due to the salinity of groundwater in the coastal strip area, the minimum and the maximum rice yields were 80% and 100%, respectively. Using the IK method, higher probability of groundwater salinity reducing the yield was found from the central parts toward the east. The Mann–Kendal test result showed significant temporal trends of the size of areas below the 100% yield (EC < 1 dS/m) and 90–100% yield (1 < EC < 1.34 dS/m) thresholds. The equations given by Sen’s slope estimator indicated that the groundwater salinity will not be a limiting factor for achieving 100% rice yields from the year of 2021 onward in all of the Guilan coastal area. The trend of increasing precipitation in the area may be an important cause.


Groundwater salinity Indicator kriging Ordinary kriging Rice yield Vulnerability maps 



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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Water Sciences, Faculty of Engineering SciencesSari University of Agricultural Sciences and Natural ResourcesSariIran
  2. 2.Department of AgroecologyAarhus UniversityTjeleDenmark
  3. 3.Water Engineering Department, Faculty of Agriculture SciencesUniversity of GuilanRashtIran
  4. 4.Department of Water Engineering and EnvironmentCaspian Sea Basin Research CenterRashtIran

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