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Postby butch » Wed Mar 25, 2009 9:48 pm

Hi Peter
I am a big follower and believer in NSF and in my quest to spread the word, am constantly being told it is rubbish and wrong (very narrow minded).I am working in the central wheatbelt of W.A. and numerous drains have been dug and still are, supposedly to rid us of of the salt problem. Also many ground pumps continually drain water from the landscape here every day.
I am being told that this is done because salt is rising through capillary rise from the water table some two plus metres deep, most of it being in Morrel country or fine textured clay soils that it is most prevalent. What are your thoughts of this reasoning as this is the basis of most peoples thinking here.
Very frustrated,
thanks, Butch

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Postby duane » Thu Mar 26, 2009 8:38 am


Peter is in WA at present in the Avon and then heading up to Geraldton.

Let's try and clear this whole issue of SALT rising up once and for all.

When our landscape was in balance TWO things occured:
1. there was wide biodiversity of plant cover
2. there were HIGH water tables of fresh water sitting above saline groundwater.

The notion that this salt water rises when plants are removed is totally erroroneous.

When rain falls with 60ppm salt the fresgh water under the force of gravity pushes down thru the soil. Plants acting as solar pumps works against gravity and keeps a fresh water lens near the root zone. Meaning it keeps salt below the root zone.

What farmers and scientists both fail to understand is how the HYDROLOGY moves in the soil. It moves BOTH laterally and down.

Now when saline water tables are say 2m below the surface as the saline water table moves LATERALLY i.e., <<<< or >>>>> as the fall of the country dictates somewhere down that fall line the water level will come out exposing salt.

If there is not vegetation present to deal with this the saline water will as it dessicates get saltier and appear as a white scald patch on the landscape.

This is how salt moves and appears in the environment and the causes for its appearence is almost always from activities upstream.

Everywhere in the world where deep drainage channels have been dug previously are now DESERTS. These deep drainage channels will desertify EVERY landscape. They will lower water tables, causes the landscape to heat up even further than it already is and this in turn will cause LESS rainfall to occur.


Why on Earth would you drain both fresh and saline water (both are needed to sustain life) from the driest continent in the world.

It is nothing short of complete lunacy and ignorance.

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Postby ColinJEly » Sat Mar 28, 2009 11:10 am

Plants are great water pumps through transpiration. So if we planted some salt tolerant plants like saltbush Atriplex nummularia, then using the short water cycle you would have a beneficial plant that tolerates saline water, and also would be pumping out fresh water which would collect later as rain and dew.

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Postby butch » Sat Mar 28, 2009 1:05 pm

thanks for the responses, it makes perfect sense to me, I can only pass it on in the hope that others will see the logic

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Postby duane » Sat Mar 28, 2009 4:24 pm


I am having saltbush feed lamb chops for dinner....first time.

I'll let you know if they are any good.

Shirley Henderson
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Postby Shirley Henderson » Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:27 pm

Colin, your suggestion of saltbush is a good one,. There are many varieties and they provide canopy to the soil whether it be 2 cm or 2 metres. Fantastic groundcovers, sub shrubs and shrubs. Anything that can get the process of plant cover going has got to be beneficial and a start to shade, food, shelter, habitat, erosion control, wind protection, temperature differences and microclimate forming plus the small water cycle returning.
Cheers to saltbush a very good plant! :)

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