Extensive costs of salt-damaged soils include $27 billion+ in lost crop value / yr

Study identifies ways to reverse damage, says every hectare needed to feed worlds fast-growing population

Every day for more than 20 years, an average of 2,000 hectares of irrigated land in arid and semi-arid areas worldwide have been degraded by salt, a problem occurring in 75 countries, according to a study today by United Nations University’s Canadian-based Institute for Water, Environment and Health.

Today about 62 million hectares — an area the size of France, representing 20% of the world’s irrigated land — is affected by the problem, up from 45 million hectares in the early 1990s.

Salt-induced land degradation often occurs in arid and semi-arid regions where rainfall is too low to maintain regular percolation of rainwater through the soil and where irrigation is practiced without a natural or artificial drainage system.

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