Taiwan is surrounded by the sea, and the southwestern seashores are suffering from a growing land subsidence problem caused by the excessive extraction of groundwater. There is also very serious intrusion by seawater along the coastline. These circumstances obstruct any land use, soil remediation or agriculture development in the area. When seawater intrudes, salt gets into the soil. The infiltration, evapotranspiration and the distribution of salinity in the unsaturated soil become a very complex problem. It is vital to investigate the hysteresis of soil water-retention curves, combined with the salinity in these areas. Therefore, this study's main focus will be the calibration of variations in salinity and their effect on the hysteresis of soil water-retention curves. In the wetting processes, the salty soil water-retention curves undergo an upper shift compared with the original soil water-retention curves because of the higher tension of saltwater. In the drying processes, there is also an upper shift compared with the original curves because the salinity influences the air-entry pressure. The saltwater's high salinity causes the hysteresis of soil water-retention curves to experience a greater shift. The changes in salinity also cause changes to the hysteresis curves’ shape factors, which conforms to Huang's model (developed by Huang H.C., Y.C. Tan, C.W. Liu, and C.H. Chen in 2005), the values of α and n. The value of α decreases with the increased salinity. The trend of the n value presents an irregular result. A linear regression of the αw and αd values was advanced where the R-square values of αw and αd exceeded 0.97. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.