Beneficial Uses of Geothermal Energy Description and Preliminary Results for Phase 1 of the Raft River Irrigation Experiment

The first phase of an experiment using geothermal water for irrigation is described and preliminary results are discussed. The water was from a moderate temperature well, having salinity of about 2000 ppM, and is considered characteristic of the types of geothermal fluids that will be obtained from the young volcanic/young sediment formations of the northern intermountain west. The activity was completed at a location adjacent to ERDA's Raft River Geothermal Project in southern Idaho. About 12.5 acres, of which part had no previous cultivation, were subdivided by crops and irrigation practices for investigation with the geothermal water and a control comparison water from the relatively pure Raft River. Flood and sprinkler application techniques were used and wheat, barley, oats, grasses, alfalfa, potatoes, and garden vegetables were successfully grown. An accompanying experiment evaluated the behavior of an established alfalfa crop located nearby, when most of the irrigation water was geothermal. The experiment addressed heavy metal uptake in plants, plant fluoride retention and damage, plant tolerances to salts, soil alterations and other behavior as a result of the geothermal fluids, all of which were largely believed to eliminate geothermal water from contention for crop growing utilization. Not all analyses and results are complete in this reporting, but first results indicate no apparent difference between the geothermal watered crops and those obtained using the fresh water control. Extensive chemical analyses, neutron activation analyses, and other evaluations of crop samples are discussed, and some of the findings are presented. Although evaluation of crop yields was not an objective, extrapolations from samples indicate that yield results were comparable to those commonly found in the area, and the yield varied little between water sources. (JGB)

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Field Value
Citation Date 1977-01-01T00:00:00

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Original ID 62EEA42065AA40C6BD731976B473A984
Index Date 2016-03-17T21:40:07
Original Format ISO-USGIN
Original Version 1.2


Name Schmitt, R.C. , Spencer, S.G.
Organization EG and G Idaho, Inc., Idaho National Engineering Lab, Idaho Falls, Idaho (USA)

Geographic Extent

North Bound 49
South Bound 41.99
East Bound -111.04
West Bound -117.24