Effects of Saline and Deficit Irrigation on Soil-Plant Water Status and Potato Crop Yield under the Semiarid Climate of Tunisia

Giuseppe Provenzano, Abdelhamid Boujelben, Giovanni Rallo, Boutheina Douh, Amel Mguidiche, Hiba Ghazouani, Basma Latrech

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2 Citations (Scopus)


: Water supplies have been decreasing in several semi-arid regions, and it is thereforenecessary to adopt irrigation strategies aimed at maximizing water use efficiency. In this paper,the effects of saline and deficit irrigation on water use efficiency and on potato crop response, based onobservations of soil and plant water status, were investigated. Experiments were carried out in CentralTunisia, by monitoring potato crop growth during two seasons in four distinct treatments (T1–T4),represented by two different irrigation doses and two water qualities. For irrigation schedulingpurposes, thresholds of soil matric potential, soil water content and Crop Water Stress Index (CWSI)were identified with the aim to quantify the effects of water and/or salinity stress on the achievableyield. Experiments allowed verifying that crop yield is strongly affected by the seasonal amount andquality of applied water. Despite differences of crop yield between treatments T2, T3 and T4 not beingstatistically significant (P < 0.05), crop yield varied between 26.3 t/ha (T3 in 2015) to 16.3 t/ha (T4 in2015). However, crop yield decline of 17.0 t/ha and 12.0 t/ha per each 100 mm decrease of appliedwater were observed under the application of water electrical conductivity of 1.6 dS/m and 4.1 dS/mrespectively. On the other hand, an increase of 1.0 dS/m in water electrical conductivity caused ayield decline rate of about 10%. The results achieved showed that under the semi-arid climate ofTunisia, potato crop irrigation should be scheduled to avoid water deficit; however, the possibility toreduce water supply can be envisaged when water availability is limited, but with the awareness toaccept the shortage of production. Finally, when saline water is the only source available to the farm,it is necessary to avoid the reduction of irrigation doses, to prevent excessive salt accumulation in theroot zone with unavoidable effects on crop yield.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2706-2721
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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