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About NSRC

The salinity of soils and water resources in Iran is one of the major problems inhibiting their effective utilization in agriculture. These problems depend on a number of factors including widespread distribution of saline parent materials, low rainfall, high potential evapotranspiration, topographic conditions creating closed or semi closed basins, irrigation with low quality water (surface and groundwater) and inadequate irrigation and drainage facilities.

Excessive extraction from aquifers has caused a significant decline in the groundwater level of many aquifers which could, in turn, decrease the quality of ground water resources. Moreover, discharging drained water from leaching practices has increased the salinization of groundwater resources.

The combined effect of the above mentioned factors has caused the formation of huge territories of saline and alkaline soils. The largest concentration of these is in the central deserts. An estimate of the total salt-affected soils exceeds 15.5 Mha or nearly 10 percent of the surface area of Iran. According to the Soil and Water Research Institute, the salt affected soils of the country amount to about 18 Mha, including 7 Mha of salt marsh is Dasht-e-Kavir and Dasht-e-Lut.

Secondary salinization in the arid and semiarid parts of the country is a major problem, and considerable areas under the command of new dams have gone out of cultivation due to over irrigation and ensuing problems of water logging and salinization. In recently established projects the drainage networks have been planned along with irrigation networks. However, the rise in water tables and development of water logging and secondary salinization show the inadequacies arising from inappropriate design. Development of secondary salinization in the Khuzestan, Doroudzan and Zayandeh-Rud irrigation projects are good examples.

As mentioned above, a major problem in the area of soil and water resources in Iran is the problem of salinity. About 50-75 percent of irrigated land is now facing with the problem of salinity and water logging, which seriously reduce agricultural productivity ad has gave implication for our food security system.

Research on water and soil salinity in the country has been ongoing since about half a century ago by Research Institutes and Universities, whose results are worthwhile. To focus on all research activities in the field of salinity, an institute was established in 2000 as the National Salinity Research Center (NSRC). The Center, aims at research relating to soil and water salinity in order to introduce scientific and economical technologies for both agricultural productivity in salt-affected soils as well as in the prevention of the spread of soil salinity. As a result, the center tackles diverse aspects of soil and water salinity problems in different agro ecological regions.

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