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Nitrate dynamics in shallow groundwater and the potential for transport to off-site water bodies

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Rasiah, V., Armour, J.D., Yamamoto, T., Mahendrarajah, S. and Heiner, D.H. (2003) Nitrate dynamics in shallow groundwater and the potential for transport to off-site water bodies. Water, Air, and Soil Pollution, 147 . pp. 183-202. ISSN 1573-2932

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Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1024529017142


Large quantities of the nitrate leaching below the crop root-zone, particularly during the wet season, in the tropical Far North Queensland (FNQ) of Australia, may be entering off and on-site the water bodies. The objectives of this study were to (i) provide quantitative information on NO3-N in the shallow fluctuating groundwater (GW) that develops during the rainy season (January through May) in the Johnstone River Catchment (JRC) of FNQ and (ii) determine whether this NO3-N is potentially transportable to creeks/streams. The NO3-N concentration and GW table heights were monitored, at least at weekly intervals, in 6 piezometers, installed to 8.5–12.0 m depth in 6 different soil types under fertilized sugarcane (Saccharum Officinarum-S) in the JRC during the 1999 rainy season.Depending on the location of piezometers on the landscape and time of water sampling, the GW table fluctuated between from 1.5 to 11.5 m abovethe piezometer bottom. The NO3-N concentration in the fluctuating GW also showed spatio-temporal dynamics and it ranged from 0.60 to 3.70 mg L-1. The NO3-N adsorbed at anion exchanges sites, up to 10 m depth, ranged from 154 to 3956 kg ha-1, compared with 21 kgha-1 under rainforest. In the fluctuating GW, the NO3-N concentration increased with increasing GW table height and the NO3-N adsorbed at anion exchange sites (R2 = 0.96). The NO3-N load in the GW ranged from 40 to 110 kg ha-1 and it increased with increasing GW table and GW NO3-N concentration. The estimated N-load in the GW that was discharged into creeks/streams when the GW receded ranged from 21 to 81 kg ha-1. The results provide evidence that a(i) a major proportion of the NO3-N that was leaching below the sugarcane root-zone entered the shallow GW that developed during the rainy season, and (ii) a significant proportion of the NO3-N inthe GW was transported to creeks/streams when the GW table receded.

Item Type:Article
Subjects:Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Agriculture and the environment
Agriculture > Agriculture (General) > Soils. Soil science > Soil and crops. Soil-plant relationships. Soil productivity
Live Archive:30 Jan 2024 01:42
Last Modified:30 Jan 2024 01:42

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