Irrigation and Drainage Systems

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 61–79 | Cite as

Monitoring the pollution risk and water use in orchard terraces with mango and cherimoya trees by drainage lysimeters

  • Carmen Rocío Rodríguez Pleguezuelo
  • Víctor Hugo Durán Zuazo
  • José Ramón Francia Martínez
  • José Luis Muriel Fernández
  • Dionisio Franco Tarifa


Agricultural nonpoint-source pollution is the leading cause of water-quality degeneration of rivers and groundwater. In this context, the coast of Granada province (SE Spain) is economically an important area for the subtropical fruit cultivation. This intensively irrigated agriculture often uses excessive fertilizers, resulting to water pollution. Therefore, a 2-year experiment was conducted using drainage lysimeters to determine the potential risk of nutrient pollution in mango (Mangifera indica L. cv. Osteen) and cherimoya (Annona cherimola Mill. cv. Fino de Jete) orchards. These lysimeters were used to estimate the nutrient budgeting for each crop. NO3-N, NH4-N, PO4-P and K losses according to lysimeters were, respectively, 55.1, 12.4, 3.7, and 0.6 for mango and 61.8, 17.8, 4.9, and 0.5 kg ha−1 yr−1, for cherimoya. NO3, concentrations in the leachates ranged from 1.8 to 44.3 mg L−1, and from 23.0 to 51.0 mg L−1, for mango and cherimoya, respectively, in some cases exceeding the limits for safe drinking water. PO4 also exceeded the permitted concentrations related to eutrophication of water, ranging from 0.07 to 0.5 mg L−1 and from 0.12 to 0.68 mg L−1 from mango and cherimoya lysimeters, respectively. With respect to the nutrient balance, N, P, and K removed by cherimoya fruits was 76.4, 5.5, and 22.6 kg ha−1 yr−1, and for mango fruits 30.2, 3.3 and 27.8 kg ha−1 yr−1, respectively. Nutrient losses in the leachates were surprisingly low, considering total N, P, and K applied during the year, in mango lysimeters 3.8, 0.11, and 12.6%, and in cherimoya lysimeters 7.7, 0.23 and 16.0%, respectively, indicating a potential soil accumulation and eventual loss risk, especially during torrential rains. Crop coefficient (Kc) values of mango trees varied within ranges of 0.35–0.67, 0.55–0.89, and 0.39–0.80 at flowering, fruit set, and fruit growth, respectively. Kc values for cherimoya trees had ranges of 0.58–0.67, 0.61–0.68, and 0.43–0.62 at flowering, fruit set and fruit growth, respectively. In this study, the Kc values of mango and cherimoya were significantly correlated to julian days. Therefore, the estimated WUE in the mango and cherimoya orchards reached 21.2 and 14.0 kg ha−1 mm−1, respectively. Thus, this study highlights the urgency to establish the optimal use of fertilizers and irrigation water with respect to crop requirements, to preserve surface-water and groundwater quality, thereby achieving more sustainable agriculture in orchard terraces.


Irrigation Drainage lysimeter Crop coefficient Groundwater Mango Cherimoya 



The research work that leads to this publication was sponsored by following research project “Environmental impact of farming subtropical species on steeply sloping lands. Integrated measures for the sustainable agriculture” (RTA05-00008-00-00), granted by INIA, Spain and cofinanced by FEDER funds (European Union).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carmen Rocío Rodríguez Pleguezuelo
    • 1
  • Víctor Hugo Durán Zuazo
    • 2
  • José Ramón Francia Martínez
    • 1
  • José Luis Muriel Fernández
    • 2
  • Dionisio Franco Tarifa
    • 3
  1. 1.IFAPA Centro Camino de PurchilGranadaSpain
  2. 2.IFAPA Centro Las Torres-TomejilAlcalá del RíoSpain
  3. 3.Finca “El Zahorí”AlmuñécarSpain

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