Groundwater table and salinity: Spatial and temporal distribution and influence on soil salinization in Khorezm region (Uzbekistan, Aral Sea Basin)

M. Ibrakhimov, A. Khamzina, I. Forkutsa, G. Paluasheva, J. P.A. Lamers, B. Tischbein, P. L.G. Vlek, C. Martius

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

103 Citations (Scopus)


Groundwater (GW) management is an essential element in irrigated agriculture. This paper analyzes the temporal dynamics of GW table and salinity in Khorezm, a region of Uzbekistan which is situated on the lower Amu Darya River in the Aral Sea Basin and suffering from severe soil salinization. We furthermore identify the critical areas for potential soil salinization by examining GW table and salinity measured during 1990-2000 in 1,972 wells, covering the entire region. Additionally, case studies were performed to assess the contribution of the GW to the soil salinization on a field scale. Over the entire area, GW was only moderately saline averaging 1.75 ± 0.99 g l-1 However, GW levels were generally very shallow averaging 148±57 cm below the ground surface and thus likely to prompt secondary soil salinization. Three case studies where GW table, soil and GW salinity were closely monitored at the field scale, suggested that the elevated GW levels forced soil salinization by annually adding 3.5-14 t ha-1 of salts depending on the position and salinity of the GW table. Maps interpolated from the regional dataset revealed that GW was significantly shallower and more saline in the western and southern parts of Khorezm despite the presence of a drainage network which is rather uniformly distributed throughout the region. The results of the current study will assist the development of an improved drainage management in Khorezm.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)219-236
Number of pages18
JournalIrrigation and Drainage Systems
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Dec
Externally publishedYes


  • Agriculture
  • Amu Darya River
  • Drainage
  • Secondary soil salinization
  • Spatial analysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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