Home | Dossiers | Is the world getting saltier? | Thematic Webinars: Salinity

'Webinars', or Web-based Seminars, are presentations or lectures transmitted over the Web. TheWaterChannel webinars are collaborative; the participants are able to communicate and discuss with the resource persons in real-time. They are free and open to all.  Watch previous webinars >>

Webinars over the next few months will focus on the theme of salinization. They will cover a variety of topics: salinization of agricultural lands, saline intrusion in urban water resources, and desalination... to name a few.

Salinization Webinar #2:  Drain for Gain: Managing Salinity over Irrigated Lands 

Date and time: October 09, 2013 
1400 GMT
(Click here to check your local timing)
How to attend: 1) Go to metameta.adobeconnect.com/drainforgain
2) Choose 'Enter as Guest'
3) Enter a Screen name.
4) That's it! You can now listen to Henk, see his slides, ask him questions and put forward your comments.
Speaker: Dr. Henk Ritzema, Wageningen University, The Netherlands




All our fresh water contains salts, even in your bottle of drinking water. Thus irrigation (except rainfed) builds up salt-levels in the soil. Like in your own body you have to leach out the salts from the soil to keep the soil salinity under control. In around 20% of the irrigated areas in the World the natural drainage is not sufficient to control the soil salinity levels and artificial drainage, either by open or pipe (tile) drains is needed. And, although the total area under irrigation continues to grow, we are investing very little in drainage systems to sustain these investments in irrigation. Salinity build-up is a slow process and consequently “Irrigation is the need for today, salinization is a problem of tomorrow” is a voice that echoes across farmers, engineers and government departments alike. What further complicated the problems is that drainage is a jointed activity in which farmers have to work together. 
In this webinar, Dr. Ritzema will discuss the role of drainage to reduce problems associated with waterlogging and salinity in irrigated agriculture. He will discuss examples and solutions from around the world and the challenges that we face to reverse the negative trend in salt build-up and waterlogging.
About the speaker: Dr. Henk Ritzema is an Assistant Professor at Wageningen University, The Netherlands, where he is with the Water Resources Management Group. Henk has over thirty years of experience in teaching/ rersearching water management and hydrology for food and ecosystems management. His work has been based in North Africa, West Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia. Full Profile >>
Related Resources
  Water Resources Management Group,
Wageningen University



Salinization Webinar #1:  Salinization, Water Scarcity and Future Agriculture

Date and time: September 24, 2013
Speaker: Dr. Shoaib Ismail, International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture, 
  Watch recording





Around 20% of all the arable land in the world is irrigated. Around 20% of all the irrigated land suffers from salinization. This means that salt levels in the soil have built up to such a high level that nothing can grow on that land anymore. We are losing 1.6 million hectares this way every year. This offsets much of the progress we make towards achieving greater agricultural productivity, food security and poverty reduction.

Build-up of salt levels in land and freshwater sources is a gradual process, and not something we observe until it turns into a problem. This does not mean that there aren’t solutions, but only that we don’t act until its too late. There is a wide range of solutions and adaptive measures to manage salinization. , and even utilize it as a resource.

In this webinar, Dr. Shoaib Ismail will discuss examples of such solutions and measures from around the world, such as reclamation of saline land, salt-resistant crops, adaptive cropping patterns, using seawater for irrigation... and many more. He will also discuss how such practices can be integrated to further the saltland agronomy, and why this is key to future agriculture and food systems.

About the speaker: Dr Shoaib Ismail is a research scientist and university educator with more than 33 years experience in saline agriculture research and development. Dr Ismail specializes in the management of saltland agronomy with a special interest in integrated forage production, bioenergy trees for wastelands and seawater-based agricultural system. His current research also involves climate change and its impact on food security, as well as environmental resource management. Dr. Ismail has worked in many dryland regions of the world and has active collaboration with international and national system partners. More info >>
Related Resources

  International Centre
for Biosaline Agriculture, 



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