Posted: 24 January 2001

The build-up of salts in soil as a result of the capillary flow of saline water towards the surface. Salinisation is a common problem in areas where agriculture requires irrigation. There, the natural process is exacerbated by the evaporation of irrigation water that not only adds salts directly to the soil, but also encourages sub-surface water to be drawn from deeper levels to the surface where it is evaporated. At best, it can lead to a reduction in crop yields; at worst, it made the land sterile and unsuitable for agriculture.