Pedotransfer functions to estimate soil water content at field capacity and permanent wilting point in hot Arid Western India

  • Priyabrata Santra
  • Mahesh Kumar
  • R N Kumawat
  • D K Painuli
  • K M Hati
  • G B M Heuvelink
  • N H Batjes


Characterization of soil water retention, e.g., water content at field capacity (FC) and permanent wilting point (PWP) over a landscape plays a key role in efficient utilization of available scarce water resources in dry land agriculture; however, direct measurement thereof for multiple locations in the field is not always feasible. Therefore, pedotransfer functions (PTFs) were developed to estimate soil water retention at FC and PWP for dryland soils of India. A soil database available for Arid Western India (N=370) was used to develop PTFs. The developed PTFs were tested in two independent datasets from arid regions of India (N=36) and an arid region of USA (N=1789). While testing these PTFs using independent data from India, root mean square error (RMSE) was found to be 2.65 and 1.08 for FC and PWP, respectively, whereas for most of the tested ‘established’ PTFs, the RMSE was >3.41 and >1.15, respectively. Performance of the developed PTFs from the independent dataset from USA was comparable with estimates derived from ‘established’ PTFs. For wide applicability of the developed PTFs, a user-friendly soil moisture calculator was developed. The PTFs developed in this study may be quite useful to farmers for scheduling irrigation water as per soil type.


Soil water retention dry lands western India pedotransfer functions soil moisture calculator 



We express our sincere thanks to the Director, ICAR-CAZRI Jodhpur for providing necessary support to carry out the present study (CAZRI/T-04/31). The senior author (PS) also expresses his sincere thanks to the National Director, NAIP (ICAR), Director CAZRI and Dr P C Pande, Head of Division CAZRI for providing the opportunity for foreign training in Geoinformatics, and to Dr H M C van Holsteijn, Director a.i. of ISRIC–World Soil Information, The Netherlands, for hosting PS as a guest researcher working on ‘spatial assessment of soil properties using digital soil mapping techniques’ (Sept.–Dec. 2013). We thank the Editor and reviewers for their detailed and insightful comments that helped to improve the paper.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Priyabrata Santra
    • 1
  • Mahesh Kumar
    • 1
  • R N Kumawat
    • 1
  • D K Painuli
    • 1
  • K M Hati
    • 2
  • G B M Heuvelink
    • 3
  • N H Batjes
    • 3
  1. 1.ICAR-Central Arid Zone Research Institute (CAZRI)JodhpurIndia
  2. 2.ICAR-Indian Institute of Soil Science (ISSS)BhopalIndia
  3. 3.ISRIC-World Soil InformationWageningenThe Netherlands

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