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Wimmera CMA

Street Address:
24 Darlot Street, Horsham, 3400
(enter via Gleed St)

Postal Address:
PO Box 479, Horsham, VIC, 3402
Phone: (03) 5382 1544
Fax: (03) 5382 6076
Email: wcma@wcma.vic.gov.au
 
Office Hours:
Monday to Friday, 8:30 - 5:00pm
(excluding Public Holidays and Christmas - New Year Closure.  Office may also be closed for short periods Monday mornings)

Dryland Salinity

What is Dryland Salinity?

Dryland Salinity is the process that degrades land due to an increase in soil salt concentration. Being in excess of normal soil salt concentrations makes it harder for plants to take water from the soil and eventually they die from dehydration, leaving patches of soil with no ground cover.

 
 Soil Quality TestingSoil Quality Testing

What causes Dryland Salinity?

Dryland salinity is caused by rising water tables.
Some ways this can occur:

  • Clearing deep-rooted perennial native vegetation and replacing it with shallow rooted annual plants. The shallow roots are no longer able to utilise the excess runoff, and it now seeps past the roots zone to enter the groundwater system
  • Excessive groundwater recharge; this could come from increased rainfall or floods
  • Natural groundwater discharge; due to the relatively flat landscape, the water table does not need to rise far to reach the vegetation or discharge on the surface.

Putting perennial plants back in to the agricultural landscape is one way to limit dryland salinity.

What are we doing about Dryland Salinity in the Wimmera?

Dryland salinity appears to have stabilised across the catchment, most likely due to the 2002-2009 drought. According to the Draft DEPI Salinity Statement, previous severity of salinity trends from the National Land & Water Resources Audit (NLWRD) has recently been downgraded. However, with recent heavy rainfall and flooding, recharging of groundwater systems may lead to expanded areas affected by salt in the near future.

Even though the problems of dryland salinity appear to have stabilised for the moment, Wimmera CMA continue to monitor a number of bores to track any changes in groundwater levels over time.