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Evaluation of soil water storage efficiency for rainfall harvesting on hillslope micro-basins built using time domain reflectometry measurements

Previati, M., Bevilacqua, I., Canone, D., Ferraris, S., Haverkamp, R.
Agricultural water management 2010 v.97 no.3 pp. 449-456
Olea europaea, olives, soil water storage, water harvesting, hills, slope, time domain reflectometry, rain, runoff, land restoration, water erosion, soil types, soil depth, tillage, farm management, vegetation, Tunisia
Micro-basins are slope management structures built out of earth and stones on hillslopes around cultivated trees (e.g., olive trees) for the harvesting of rainfall and runoff water, and for the rehabilitation of land degraded by water erosion. In this study, the results of an experimental survey for the comparison of soil water content for both inside and outside the micro-basins are analyzed. Measurements are taken after some rainfall events from January to December 2003 in a hilly region of Central Tunisia. The time domain reflectometry technique is used to measure soil moisture in 15 sets of soil profiles (inside and outside) at three different depths. Four different soils are evaluated, i.e., Cambisols, Kastanozems, Arenosols, and Calcisols. The data analysis shows a significant improvement on the water stock obtained by this type of management. The differences in water storage with respect to soil type, depths, and tillage are evident, but strongly connected to farm management. For optimal management conditions an important increase of average water stock is observed; however, for bad or no farm management the amelioration is zero or is even deteriorating the state of vegetation.