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Field determination of soil hydraulic properties for simulation of the optimum watertable regime

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Abstract

A field experiment to evaluate accurate cost and time efficient methodologies for determining soil hydraulic properties was done at the NIAB Research Station at Faisalabad, Pakistan. The experiment was performed on a freely draining loamy soil. This soil type is representative of 75% of the topsoil in a tile drainage area known as the Fourth Drainage Project. Redistribution of water was monitored at five locations, for seven depths, following a steady state infiltration for prolonged time. The data were analyzed with Darcian flow analysis, three simplified methods, and two parameter optimization programs to calculate unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. The Darcian flow analysis was used as a reference against which the simplified methods were compared. Two simplified methods produced satisfactory results with less effort. The drawback is that the simplified methods alone do not provide enough information for use in simulation models. The advantage of the two optimization programs — SFIT and RETC — is that they are based on a continuous function which describes complete h(ϑ) and K(ϑ) curves. This is a requirement for computer simulation of salt and water movement in the unsaturated soil. The results of the optimizations were evaluated by their correspondence to field measurements and to laboratory measurements and by their ability to simulate soil water flow. Both programs fit the observed field data well, but only the SFIT optimized parameters were suitable for soil water flow simulations.

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Abbreviations

IWASRI:

International Waterlogging and Salinity Research Institute

NRAP:

Netherlands Research Assistance Project

NIAB:

Nuclear Institute for Agriculture and Biology

SSP:

Soil Survey of Pakistan

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Author information

Correspondence to Jelle Beekma.

Additional information

Revised paper from ‘Field determination of soil hydraulic properties’ presented in ICID, CIID IDW5, Lahore, Pakistan (1–55 — 1–64).

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Moghal, M.A., Beekma, J., Beekman, W. et al. Field determination of soil hydraulic properties for simulation of the optimum watertable regime. Irrig Drainage Syst 6, 275–290 (1993). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01112229

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Key words

  • drainage design
  • hydraulic conductivity
  • parameter optimization
  • salinization
  • water retention