Land application of industrial effluent could be very beneficial especially in areas where water stress is a major concern. West Mesa
Industrial park near Las Cruces, New Mexico, USA
is applying industrial effluent onto the 36-ha of native Chihuahuan Desert
ecosystem since 2002. This study aims to quantify the changes in some chemical (EC, pH, Cl, NO3, SAR) and physical (BD, Ks, AWC, qd, FC) properties of soil primarily due to the effluent application. Effluent is applied onto the study site by fixed-head sprinkler irrigation system and study plots are partially covered with desert shrubs like Mesquite
) and Creosoto (Larrea tridentate
) and annual and perennial forbs and grasses. As the sprinkler distribution of effluent is intercepted by the desert shrub, this study also aims to find out the differences in soil properties between canopy and bare ground areas. Three plots were identified for the present study with one them was unirrigated control. Bulk (from 0-20, 20-40 cm) and loose ( from 0-20, 20-40, 40-60, 60-80, 80-100, 100-150 cm) soil samples were collected at different depths form under the canopy and bareground from each plot. The AWC, SAR, pH, Na, Cl were found to be higher in irrigated than control plot while not much differences in texture and bulk density were observed. The Ks was higher under the canopy in control plot as well as irrigated plots than bareground locations. This study provides an overview of the research issues associated with the application of industrial effluent to Chihuahuan desert ecosystem, such as sustainability, beneficial effects, and potential adverse impacts on soil environment, native vegetation and environmental quality.