Variability of drainage and solute leaching in heterogeneous urban vegetation environs
Deep percolation enhancement from recycled wastewater irrigation may contribute to salt accumulation and water table elevation that can ultimately cause soil and ground water degradation. Variation of drainage rate and solute leaching were investigated in an urban park containing heterogeneous landscape plants that were irrigated with recycled wastewater. Field monitoring was undertaken at Veale Gardens in the Adelaide Parklands, Australia. Based on landscape variation in Veale Gardens, two landscape zones were defined: one being largely covered with turf grasses with few trees and shrubs (MG) with the second zone being mostly trees and shrubs with intermittent turf grasses (MT). Experiments were performed on two zero-tension lysimeters placed horizontally 100 cm below ground to monitor the variation of volume and quality indicators of drained water for four seasons. The outcomes showed a significant variation of drainage quantity and quality in the MT and MG zones. The low vegetation cover in the MG zone resulted in more drained water than in the high vegetation cover (MT zone). In both zones, more drainage water was collected in winter than in other seasons. This is in spite of the input water showing a maximum rate in summer. The seasonal salinities measured in the two lysimeters showed very similar trends with the lowest salinity rate in autumn with the levels increasing through winter and spring. Chemical analyses of leachate solute and salt loading indicated no impact from using recycled wastewater.