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Infiltration-excess runoff properties of dryland floodplain soil types under simulated rainfall conditions

Mavimbela, Sabelo Sicelo Wesley, Dlamini, Phesheya, van Rensburg, Leon Daniel
Arid land research and management 2019 v.33 no.3 pp. 235-254
alluvial soils, aquifers, arid lands, bulk density, clay, clay fraction, floodplains, rainfall simulation, runoff, silt fraction, water management, South Africa
The study estimated infiltration-excess runoff properties of three floodplain soil-types under aquifer water management at Anglo American Kolomela Iron Ore mine in Postmasburg, Northern Cape Province of South Africa. Rainstorm regimes of amounts 60 (high), 30 (medium), and 15 (low) mm with respective intensities of 1.61, 0.52, and 0.27 mm min⁻¹ were simulated on 1 m² plot with 1% slope. Infiltration-excess runoff properties were affected by a rainstorm, but not soil-type. When combined with rainstorm, soil-type affected accumulative run-off rates. High rainstorm had different (p ≤ 0.05) accumulative runoff rates (0.1–0.61 mm min⁻¹) and increased with clay content. Different response times of 4, 10, and 17 min for respective high, medium, and low rainstorms were quickest on higher clay plus silt content and bulk-density under high and lower rainstorms, respectively. Lower rainstorms had similar effects on accumulative runoff rates (0.01–0.05 mm min⁻¹), total runoff yield (0.59–18 mm), and runoff coefficients (4.29–18%). Under the high rainstorm, total runoff yields (11.4–25.8 mm) and runoff coefficients (19–42.9%) were different and increased with clay plus fine-silt content. Although simulated rainstorms had constant intensities, results showed high rainstorms to be of primal influence on infiltration-excess runoff. Clay plus silt content and bulk-density influenced infiltration-runoff properties for respective high and lower rainstorms. Apart from rainstorm characteristics, surface clay plus silt content and bulk-density are important for harnessing surface runoff in floodplains for aquifer recharge.