Evaluation of promising technologies for soil salinity amelioration in Timpaki (Crete): a participatory approach
- 1School of Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece
- 2Department of Civil Engineering, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
- 3Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Bern, Switzerland
Abstract. Soil salinity management can be complex, expensive, and time demanding, especially in arid and semi-arid regions. Besides taking no action, possible management strategies include amelioration and adaptation measures. Here we apply the World Overview of Conservation Approaches and Technologies (WOCAT) framework for the systematic analysis and evaluation and selection of soil salinisation amelioration technologies in close collaboration with stakeholders. The participatory approach is applied in the RECARE (Preventing and Remediating degradation of soils in Europe through Land Care) project case study of Timpaki, a semi-arid region in south-central Crete (Greece) where the main land use is horticulture in greenhouses irrigated by groundwater. Excessive groundwater abstractions have resulted in a drop of the groundwater level in the coastal part of the aquifer, thus leading to seawater intrusion and in turn to soil salinisation. The documented technologies are evaluated for their impacts on ecosystem services, cost, and input requirements using a participatory approach and field evaluations. Results show that technologies which promote maintaining existing crop types while enhancing productivity and decreasing soil salinity are preferred by the stakeholders. The evaluation concludes that rainwater harvesting is the optimal solution for direct soil salinity mitigation, as it addresses a wider range of ecosystem and human well-being benefits. Nevertheless, this merit is offset by poor financial motivation making agronomic measures more attractive to users.