Journal of Arid Land

, Volume 10, Issue 6, pp 932–945 | Cite as

Effects of combined drip irrigation and sub-surface pipe drainage on water and salt transport of saline-alkali soil in Xinjiang, China

  • Tong Heng
  • Renkuan Liao
  • Zhenhua WangEmail author
  • Wenyong Wu
  • Wenhao Li
  • Jinzhu Zhang


Developing effective irrigation and drainage strategies to improve the quality of saline-alkali soil is vital for enhancing agricultural production and increasing economic returns. In this study, we explored how irrigation and drainage modes (flood irrigation, drip irrigation, and sub-surface pipe drainage under drip irrigation) improve the saline-alkali soil in Xinjiang, China. We aimed to study the transport characteristics of soil water and salt under different irrigation and drainage modes, and analyze the effects of the combination of irrigation and drainage on soil salt leaching, as well as its impacts on the growth of oil sunflower. Our results show that sub-surface pipe drainage under drip irrigation significantly reduced the soil salt content and soil water content at the 0–200 cm soil depth. Under sub-surface pipe drainage combined with drip irrigation, the mean soil salt content was reduced to below 10 g/kg after the second irrigation, and the soil salt content decreased as sub-surface pipe distance decreased. The mean soil salt content of flood irrigation exceeded 25 g/kg, and the mean soil desalination efficiency was 3.28%, which was lower than that of drip irrigation. The mean soil desalination rate under drip irrigation and sub-surface pipe drainage under drip irrigation was 19.30% and 58.12%, respectively. After sub-surface drainage regulation under drip irrigation, the germination percentage of oil sunflower seedlings was increased to more than 50%, which further confirmed that combined drip irrigation and sub-surface pipe drainage is very effective in improving the quality of saline-alkali soil and increasing the productivity of agricultural crops.


saline-alkali soil drip irrigation flood irrigation sub-surface pipe drainage soil desalination salt leaching arid area 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.



This research was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51741908). We wish to thank BIAN Qingyong, ZHU Yankan, GU Zhenda, WU Qiang, MA Xihe and HOU Yusheng for their help with analysis of soil samples. Thanks are also to WANG Fengjiao and ZHAO Di for soil sampling.


  1. Aslam M, Prathapar S A. 2006. Strategies to mitigate secondary salinization in the Indus basin of Pakistan: a selective review. Soviet Physics Doklady, 8(1): 53–61.Google Scholar
  2. Bahçeci I, Nacar A S. 2009. Subsurface drainage and salt leaching in irrigated land in south-east Turkey. Irrigation and Drainage, 58(3): 346–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bahçeci I, Nacar A S, Topalhasan L, et al. 2018. A new drainpipe-envelope concept for subsurface drainage systems in irrigated agriculture. Irrigation and Drainage, doi: 10.1002/ird.2247.Google Scholar
  4. Balwinder Eberbach P L, Humphreys E, et al. 2011. The effect of rice straw mulch on evapotranspiration, transpiration and soil evaporation of irrigated wheat in Punjab, India. Agricultural Water Management, 98(12): 1847–1855.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chen L J, Feng Q. 2013. Soil water and salt distribution under furrow irrigation of saline water with plastic mulch on ridge. Journal of Arid Land, 5(1): 60–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Goins T, Taylor G S. 1959. Drain depth and spacing effects on water removal from a gray-brown podzolic soil. Soil Science Society of America Journal, 23(6): 413–418.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Guan F X. 2012. Mapping QTL saline-alkali tolerance during bud and seeding stage using RIL in maize. MSc Thesis. Yangzhou: Yangzhou University. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  8. Hoover J R, Schwab G O. 1969. Effect of tile depth, spacing, and cropping practices on drain discharge. Transactions of the ASAE, 12: 150–152.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hornbuckle J W, Christen E W, Faulkner R D. 2007. Evaluating a multi-level subsurface drainage system for improved drainage water quality. Agricultural Water Management, 89(3): 208–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Hu Z, Islam S. 1995. Prediction of ground surface temperature and soil moisture content by the force–restore method. Water Resources Research, 31(10): 2531–2539.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Huang D Y. 2012. Study of the quality improvement of the water conservancy engineering construction. Enterprise Science & Technology & Development, 64(10): 962–973.Google Scholar
  12. Jat M L, Gupta R, Saharawat Y S, et al. 2011. Layering precision land leveling and furrow irrigated raised bed planting: productivity and input use efficiency of irrigated bread wheat in Indo-Gangetic plains. American Journal of Plant Sciences, 2: 578–588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Kladivko E J, Grochulska J, Turco R F, et al. 1999. Pesticide and nitrate transport into subsurface tile drains of different spacings. Journal of Environmental Quality, 28(3): 997–1004.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Kröger R, Holland M M, Moore M T, et al. 2007. Hydrological variability and agricultural drainage ditch inorganic nitrogen reduction capacity. Journal of Environmental Quality, 36(6): 1646–1652.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Library W E. 2015. National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS): Agricultural Chemical Use Database. New York: Agricultural Statistics Board, US Department of Agriculture, 629–2023.Google Scholar
  16. Liu Y G, Yang H C, Wang K Y, et al. 2014. Shallow subsurface pipe drainage in Xinjiang lowers soil salinity and improves cotton seed yield. Transactions of the Chinese Society of Agricultural Engineering, 30(16): 84–90. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  17. Mai W X, Tian C Y, Li L. 2014. Localized salt accumulation: the main reason for cotton root length decrease during advanced growth stages under drip irrigation with mulch film in a saline soil. Journal of Arid Land, 6(3): 361–370.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Mo Y, Li G, Wang D. 2017. A sowing method for subsurface drip irrigation that increases the emergence rate, yield, and water use efficiency in spring corn. Agricultural Water Management, 179: 288–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moriasi D N, Gowda P H, Arnold J G, et al. 2013. Evaluation of the hooghoudt and kirkham tile drain equations in the soil and water assessment tool to simulate tile flow and nitrate-nitrogen. Journal of Environmental Quality, 42(6): 1699–1710.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Nijland H J, Croon F W, Ritzema H P. 2005. Subsurface Drainage Practices: Guidelines for the Implementation, Operation and Maintenance of Subsurface Pipe Drainage Systems. ILRI Publication No. 60. Wageningen: Alterra, 150–610.Google Scholar
  21. Ou C Y, Chen S C, Wang Y G. 2009. On the enhancement of electroosmotic soil improvement by the injection of saline solutions. Applied Clay Science, 44(1–2): 130–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Radu O, Cimpeanu S M, Teodorescu R I, et al. 2017. Technical efficiency of the subsurface drainage on agricultural lands in the moldova river meadow. In: Kulshreshtha S. Current Perspective on Irrigation and Drainage. London: IntechOpen, 69–81.Google Scholar
  23. Randall G W, Vetsch J A. 2005. Nitrate losses in subsurface drainage from a corn-soybean rotation as affected by fall and spring application of nitrogen and nitrapyrin. Journal of Environmental Quality, 34(2): 590–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ren L T, Liu Z X, Wei T Y, et al. 2012. Evaluation of energy input and output of sweet sorghum grown as a bioenergy crop on coastal saline-alkali land. Energy, 47(1): 166–173.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Rimidis A, Dierickx W. 2003. Evaluation of subsurface drainage performance in Lithuania. Agricultural Water Management, 59(1): 15–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ritzema H P, Nijland H J, Croon F W. 2006. Subsurface drainage practices: From manual installation to large-scale implementation. Agricultural Water Management, 86(1–2): 60–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Ruisen Z, Dong X G, Ma Y.2009. Sustainable water saving: new concept of modern agricultural water saving, starting from development of Xinjiang’s agricultural irrigation over the last 50 years. Irrigation and Drainage, 58(4): 383–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Sallam G A H. 2017. The assessment of Egypt’s subsurface drainage system. In: The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Berlin, Heidelberg: Springer, 13–32.Google Scholar
  29. Savci S. 2012. An agricultural pollutant: chemical fertilizer. International Journal of Environmental Science & Development, 3(1): 77–80.Google Scholar
  30. Song X J, Kuroha T, Ayano M, et al. 2015. Rare allele of a previously unidentified histone H4 acetyltransferase enhances grain weight, yield, and plant biomass in rice. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 112(1): 76–81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Stuyt L C P M, Dierickx W, Beltrán J M. 2000. Materials for Subsurface Land Drainage Systems. Rome: FAO, 3–75.Google Scholar
  32. Verma S, Cooke R. 2015. Performance of drainage water management systems in Illinois, United States. Journal of Soil and Water Conservation, 67(6): 453–464.Google Scholar
  33. Wang Z H, Heng T, Li W H, et al. 2017. Effects of drainage pipe drainage on soil salinity leaching under drip irrigation. Transactions of the Chinese Society for Agricultural Machinery, 48: 253–261. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  34. Willer H, Lernoud J. 2016. The World of Organic Agriculture. Statistics and Emerging Trends 2016 (17th ed.). Frick and Bonn: Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL and IFOAM Organics International, 1–6.Google Scholar
  35. Xie T, Liu X, Sun T. 2011. The effects of groundwater table and flood irrigation strategies on soil water and salt dynamics and reed water use in the Yellow River Delta, China. Ecological Modelling, 222(2): 241–252.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Yang Z, Wang B S. 2014. Progress in techniques of improvement and utilization of saline-alkali land in China and its future trend. Shandong Agricultural Sciences, 2: 1–11. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  37. Yao R J, Yang J S, Liu G M. 2006. Characteristics and agro-biological management of saline-alkalized land in Northeast China. Soils, 38(3): 256–262.Google Scholar
  38. Zhang J L, Wen T, Wang P S, et al. 2014. Studies on salt-leaching of soil in the region between subsurface drains. Soil and Water Conservation, 28: 242–246. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  39. Zhang K, Li C J, Li Z S, et al. 2013. Characteristics of mineral elements in shoots of three annual halophytes in a saline desert, Northern Xinjiang. Journal of Arid Land, 5(2): 244–254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Zhao H L, Lai H X, Feng C Z, et al. 2008. Nutrient contents and actinomycetes populations of desert saline-alkali soil in parts regions of Xinjiang. Acta Agriculturae Boreali-Occidentalis Sinica, 17(1): 161–166. (in Chinese)Google Scholar
  41. Zhu X T, Mi X H, Wang Y P. 2010. Comparative study on the two testing methods of soil total salt. Gansu Agricultural Science & Technology, (4): 14–16. (in Chinese)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Xinjiang Institute of Ecology and Geography, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tong Heng
    • 1
    • 2
  • Renkuan Liao
    • 3
  • Zhenhua Wang
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Wenyong Wu
    • 3
  • Wenhao Li
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jinzhu Zhang
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.College of Water & Architectural EngineeringShihezi UniversityShiheziChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Modern Water-Saving Irrigation of Xinjiang Production and Construction GroupShihezi UniversityShiheziChina
  3. 3.China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower ResearchBeijingChina

Personalised recommendations