Encyclopedia > Salinity

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Salinity is the salt content of a body of water. Salt is very hard to remove from the water, and affects the drinking supply, what plants will grow on land fed by salinated water, and the type of organisms that live in salinated bodies of water.

Water is defined as saline if it contains 3-5% salt by volume. The sea is naturally saline, and so are some inland salt lakes. Most lakes, rivers, and streams contain fresh water, although in some areas they are becoming contaminated with salt. Salinity becomes a problem when the water table rises and contaminates the soil and the groundwater[?] with dissolved salts.

Highly saline water is referred to as brine, and water which contains little salt is fresh water. If the water contains intermediate amounts of salt it is brackish.

A plant adapted to a saline environmemnt is called halophyte.

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