Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.02.2003

Salinity signs in south Queensland

A drilling program in southern Queensland has revealed shallow groundwater at salinity levels approaching that of seawater. The National Heiitage Trust-funded study involved 20 new bores in the grain/cotton belt between Goondiwindi and Mungindi. It found groundwater 10-25 metres below ground level with salinity of 14, 000-45, 000 electrical conductivity (EC) units. Seawater has 50, 000 EC units, while desirable maximum concentration of salt in drinking water is 8, 500 for beef cattle and 800 for humans. Conservation Farmers Incorporated technical and communications officer, Kathryn Galea, said the challenge is to keep the salty water where it is now. While of concern, the salt is not (yet) affecting vegetation, farming or human use, and water in the Mclntyre River has low salinity levels. Ms Galea said land users in the area needed to monitor watertables to ensure they are not rising towards the critical point — 2 metres below surface level — where they can affect crop production and stream salinity.

Ms Kathryn Galea 07 4638 5386

Region North