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9th International Rainwater Catchment Systems Conference
"Rainwater Catchment: An Answer to the Water Scarcity of the Next Millennium."
Petrolina, Brazil - July 1999

Section 12: Posters

Paper 12.5

Geologic Nitrogen in the Agha Jari Formation of the Bisheh Zard Basin: A Dilemma

Sayyed Ahang Kowsar & Ali Reza Yazdian
Fars Research Center
Shiraz, Iran


Nitrogen deficiency ranks right behind water as the second most constraint to crop production in the coarse - loamy sand of the Gareh Bygone Plain (GBP) in southern Iran. As better resource utilization is essential to wise energy management, contrary to the reported cases, surface water pollution by N maybe a boon in the GBP. The Agha Jari Formation, in which the Bisheh Zard Basin (BZB) that supplies the GBP with floodwater has been formed, contains NO-3 and NH+4 in its sandstone, siltstone and marl components. Therefore, it is expected that some of the geologic N dissolved in floodwater, and carried by the suspended load, reach the watertable, and also supply the plants coming in contact with the water and/or sediment.

To study the origin of N in the BZB, and investigate the fate of the dissolved and adsorbed N as it travels form the watershed to the watertable, 13 rock samples, 7 floodwater samples and 71 soil samples were collected and analyzed for NO-3and NH+4. The NO-3concentration was higher than that ofNH+4 in all of the samples: 77 ppm vs. 38 ppm in the floodwater; 47 ppm vs. 20 ppm in the soil; and 22 ppm vs. 12 ppm in the rocks. Assuming the mean annual inflow of the GBP floodwater spreading system in 10 million m3, the system receives 370 metric tons of NH+4 and 770 metric tons of NO-3 which exceed the N requirement of the small grains if this system is planted to them.

As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has declared the maximum contaminant level of NO-3 - N at 10mg per liter (44.4 mg NO-3 per liter), and its concentration in floodwater in the GBP is 1.73 fold that amount, purification of the water is in order. High NO-3 consuming plant species might offer an environmentally friendly technology to decrease the deleterious effects of N containing floodwater. The study concerned with the flow of N towards groundwater will be reported later.

PDF of full document (5pp, 26kb)

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