Nitrate dynamics under cyclic irrigation pumpage

Chittaranjan Ray, Walton R. Kelly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Large-scale nitrate contamination of ground water is often observed in irrigated areas where the soils are generally permeable, and nitrate plumes have been reported to occur at shallow depths in unconfined aquifers. It has been hypothesized that these nitrate plumes can be captured by the pumping action of irrigation wells and recycled at the field site. This paper presents results from a field and modeling study in investigating the distribution of nitrate in an unconfined sand aquifer in an irrigated system. Results from tracer tests under both natural and forced gradients indicate that irrigation pumping has minor but measurable effects on solute transport. Hydrological and solute transport modeling using various pumping schedules suggests that, in most cases, the influence of irrigation pumping on solute transport will be minimal, even on local scales.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)254-263
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering - ASCE
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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