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A new modelling approach to simulate preferential flow and transport in water repellent media: parameter sensitivity, and effects on crop growth and solute leaching

Kramers, G., van Dam, J., Ritsema, C., Stagnitti, Frank, Oostindie, K. and Dekker, L. 2005, A new modelling approach to simulate preferential flow and transport in water repellent media: parameter sensitivity, and effects on crop growth and solute leaching, Australian journal of soil research, vol. 43, pp. 371-382, doi: 10.1071/SR04098.

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Title A new modelling approach to simulate preferential flow and transport in water repellent media: parameter sensitivity, and effects on crop growth and solute leaching
Author(s) Kramers, G.
van Dam, J.
Ritsema, C.
Stagnitti, Frank
Oostindie, K.
Dekker, L.
Journal name Australian journal of soil research
Volume number 43
Start page 371
End page 382
Publisher CSIRO Publishing
Place of publication Collingwood, Vic.
Publication date 2005
ISSN 0004-9573
1446-568X
Keyword(s) SWAP
preferential flow
water repellence
clay spreading
Summary

A modified version of the popular agrohydrological model SWAP has been used to evaluate modelling of soil water flow and crop growth at field situations in which water repellency causes preferential flow. The parameter sensitivity in such situations has been studied. Three options to model soil water flow within SWAP are described and compared: uniform flow, the classical mobile-immobile concept, and a recent concept accounting for the dynamics of finger development resulting from unstable infiltration. Data collected from a severely water-repellent affected soil located in Australia were used to compare and evaluate the usefulness of the modelling options for the agricultural management of such soils.

The study shows that an assumption of uniform flow in a water-repellent soil profile leads to an underestimation of groundwater recharge and an overestimation of plant transpiration and crop production. The new concept of modelling taking finger dynamics into account provides greater flexibility and can more accurately model the observed effects of preferential flow compared with the classical mobile–immobile concept. The parameter analysis indicates that the most important factor defining the presence and extremity of preferential flow is the critical soil water content.

Comparison of the modelling results with the Australian field data showed that without the use of a preferential flow module, the effects of the clay amendments to the soil were insufficiently reproduced in the dry matter production results. This means that the physical characteristics of the soil alone are not sufficient to explain the measured increase in production on clay amended soils. However, modelling with the module accounting for finger dynamics indicated that the preferential flow in water repellent soils that had not been treated with clay caused water stress for the crops, which would explain the decrease in production.

Language eng
DOI 10.1071/SR04098
Field of Research 090702 Environmental Engineering Modelling
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©CSIRO, 2005
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30008805

Document type: Journal Article
Collection: School of Life and Environmental Sciences
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