WLE's Salinity Management Framework
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  WLE Salinity Management Framework

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   Why a framework?

Why do we use a framework:

A framework helps us in organizing an analysis of a complex situation and systematically evaluating potential solutions to identified problems. In the salinity management framework, we have identified accumulation and mobilization of salt in water and land as a potential problem. This accumulation and mobilization occurs at different management scales (basin, systems, fields).

The analysis, guided by the salinity management framework, is solution oriented. The effect that the proposed solutions have need to be evaluated within the basin. The framework provides a guide on what aspects the solutions need to be evaluated on. The framework also provides the foundation of information that leads to the analysis and identified solutions, so that the analysis is transparent and reproducable.

The framework on these pages is thus a guide for the analysis (using tools in the tool-menu), provides the background data, and discusses potential solutions and the processes that these solutions affect.

Why is coordination of salinity management needed?

Some solutions that appear useful may actually only shift the salinity problems to other areas. An example is the installation of tile drainage in an irrigation project in the upper part of the river catchment. If saline drainage water is collected by these new drains and it is released to the river, it will actually increase both the concentration of the salts in the river as well as the total salt mass that flows through the river. Users downstream, either urban, environmental or agricultural, will thus be negatively affected by the solutions for upstream beneficiaries.

Another example is the selection of lands to be reclaimed. Both the reclamation process, as well as the increased agricultural productivity after initial reclamation will require more water than before. An increase in consumptive water use (water that is evaporated and transpired, and thus leaves the river system) will reduce water consumption potential downstream in the river basin. This is especially important in river basins where the total available volume of water is committed, as is the case in the Tigris-Euphrates basin.

Selection of lands to be reclaimed from the salinization process, as well as the selection of lands for saline production or grazing, affects national targets set for food self-sufficiency, poverty alleviation and economic growth models within the country. These targets partially guide the decision on where to reclaim and where to adapt to salt, but are in turn guided by the technical limitations for reclamation and adaptation as well. A salinity management framework, and the process to develop this framework, clarifies these interactions and makes technical and political decisions affecting salinity more transparent.

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