On the estimation of hydraulic conductivity of layered vadose zones with limited data availability

  • Smaranika MahapatraEmail author
  • Madan K Jha


Vadose zone acts as a controlling agent for recharge and transport of contaminants into aquifers. Hence, for modelling and quantifying flow and transport processes in subsurface environments, hydraulic conductivity (K) of the vadose zone plays an important role. However, given the heterogeneity and anisotropy of subsurface systems, the in-situ measurement of K is a daunting task at a larger scale. The present study was conceived to evaluate the efficacy of salient pedotransfer functions (PTFs) to indirectly estimate the saturated hydraulic conductivity \((K_{\mathrm{s}})\) of a lateritic vadose zone of eastern India. Also, in-situ hydraulic conductivity along with basic soil physical properties was determined in different vadose-zone layers at three locations (bare plot, cultivated field and orchard). Four PTFs [Campbell, Rawls–Brakensiek/Cronican–Gribb (R–B/C–G), and Models 2 and 3 of Rosetta] were selected to estimate \(K_{\mathrm{s}}\) and their performances were evaluated. Based on the statistical indicators, it is concluded that Model 3 of Rosetta is capable of predicting relatively close values of \(K_{\mathrm{s}}\) for the lateritic vadose zones to some extent. To generalise the findings of this study, it is recommended that such field-based studies should be carried out at a larger scale in lateritic terrains with varying land use/land cover.


Lateritic vadose zone saturated hydraulic conductivity field-saturated hydraulic conductivity pedotransfer functions vadose-zone characterisation 



The authors are very grateful to the Ministry of Human Resource Development, New Delhi, India, for their financial support in terms of fellowship and research project due to which the present study could be completed. They are also very thankful to the Associate Editor and the anonymous reviewers for their meticulous and constructive comments/suggestions.


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.AgFE DepartmentIndian Institute of TechnologyKharagpurIndia

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