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Effects of Flow Depth on Water Flow and Solute Transport in Furrow Irrigation: Field Data Analysis

Abbasi, Fariborz, Adamsen, Floyd J., Hunsaker, Douglas J., Feyen, Jan, Shouse, Peter, van Genuchten, M.Th.
Journal of irrigation and drainage engineering 2003 v.129 no.4 pp. 237
furrow irrigation, irrigation water, water flow, solutes, losses from soil, soil profiles, infiltration (hydrology)
Because of field-scale heterogeneity in soil hydraulic and solute transport properties, relatively large-scale experiments are now increasingly believed to be critical to better understand and predict the movement of water and dissolved solutes under field conditions. In this study, five field experiments were conducted on short blocked-end furrows to assess the effects of irrigation water level on water flow and solute transport in furrows. Three experiments were carried out, each of the same duration but with different amounts of water and solutes resulting from 6, 10, and 14 cm furrow water depths, designated as low, moderate, and high water levels, respectively. Two more experiments were performed with the same amounts of applied water and solute and, consequently, different durations, on furrows with depths of 6 and 10 cm of water. Results show that both the water level and the duration play an important role in transporting and distributing water and solutes in the soil profile. A positive correlation was found between water level and infiltrated amount of water or solute. Irrigation/solute application amounts increased with decreasing water level. Water and solutes were both distributed almost vertically (one-dimensionally) for the low water level and short application treatments, while they moved much more two-dimensionally with low and moderate water depths but longer application times. Irrigation with the 14 cm water level and short application time improved the distribution of water and solutes within the soil profiles, while also causing relatively less deep percolation of water and solutes as compared to low and moderate water levels and relatively long duration times.