Ahmed Almuaini

Ahmed Almuaini staff profile picture

Institute for Agriculture & Environment
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Coupled Effects of Irrigation Management and Water Salinity on Date Palm Cultivars in the Hyper-Arid Environment of the United Arab Emirates

Research Description
Coupled Effects of Irrigation Management and Water Salinity on Date Palm Cultivars in the Hyper-Arid Environment of the United Arab Emirates The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has a hyper-arid climate with an annual rainfall of less than 100 mm/year; the scant rainfall is insufficient to replenish groundwater levels. Date palms (Phoenix dactylifera L) currently account for about 1/3rd of all groundwater allocated for agricultural irrigation in the UAE. More precise information on crop water use is needed to help farmers improve their irrigation practices by better matching irrigation supply to crop water demand. Tree water use is measured directly, using the compensation heat-pulse method with very long (125 mm) sap flow sensors placed in the tree trunks, and indirectly using TDR waveguides placed in the root-zone soil, to a depth of 2.0 m. Our experiments are assessing the impact of two different levels of water salinity (5 dS/m and 15 dS/m). We show how three different varieties of date palm (Lulu, Khalas & Shahlah) respond to altered irrigation volumes and salinity levels. Information from our field experiments are being used to parameterize a decision support tool for Irrigation Allocation that is being developed for Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) to manage groundwater usage in a sustainable way.

Research Importance
The significant increase in customer demand for water occurred mainly in government sponsored housing development schemes and agricultural activities, particularly for farming. We plan to conduct measurements of sap flow and soil water content in three varieties of trees grown under two levels of salinity over two full years.

Research Benefit
To determine actual evapotranspiration and crop coefficient values productive cycle of a date palm tree by using soil water. •Determine the actual evapotranspiration. •Determine crop coefficients for palm trees using Penmen or Penmen-Montecito equation •Study the effect of deferent irrigation levels on the salt accumulation in the soil.

Personal Description
I am from UAE. The Massey University has good facilities and excellent staff expertise. The past yield data will be interpreted to support a predictive model which will indicate the likely yield for date palms under different irrigation and salinity treatments. The model will be accompanied by a report backgrounding the development of the model. The raw data sets on date yield and quality will not be provided to EAD or published. The current experimental work on the 3 varieties, the impact of two salinities, and the effect of 4 different irrigation regimes.

Prof Peter Kemp
Adjunct Professor Brent Clothier
Dr Abdullah Dakheel

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