Soils pp 67-88 | Cite as

Soil Water, Irrigation, and Drainage

  • Khan Towhid Osman


Water is a precious natural resource, and freshwater is scarce too. So, water—soil water or irrigation water—need cautious management. In soil, water is held in pores and on particles in various forms and under different forces. All of it is not available to plants. The amount of water held between field capacity (FC) and permanent wilting point (PWP) is the amount of plant’s available water in soil. The FC and PWP correspond to −10 and −1,500 kPa soil water potential, respectively. Soil water potential is the amount of free energy that soil water possesses, and it is the driving force of water in soil. Water moves to the direction of the gradient of soil water potential, and the rate of movement is proportional to the potential difference (∆ψ) between the two points and the hydraulic conductivity of the soil. Water moves along soil-root-stem-leaf-air pathway because there is a water potential gradient along the soil–plant–atmosphere continuum (SPAC). Water is needed by plants for many physiological functions. Their growth is hampered if adequate water is not available. Yields of many crops are reduced significantly due to water stress. Therefore, irrigation should be applied well ahead of developing water stress and at growth stages when water is urgently needed. Sometimes, over irrigation adversely affects crop yield. Excess water, applied or natural, must be removed by artificial drainage for growing most crops.


Soil Water Hydraulic Conductivity Volumetric Water Content Soil Water Potential Matric Suction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Soil ScienceUniversity of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh

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