Comparison among monitoring strategies to assess water flow dynamic and soil hydraulic properties in agricultural soils

  • Javier Valdes-Abellan University of Alicante, Dept. Civil Engineering. San Vicente s/n. 03690 San Vicente del Raspeig (Alicante)
  • Joaquín Jiménez-Martínez Geosciences Rennes, UMR 6118 CNRS, Université de Rennes I. Rennes
  • Lucila Candela Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Dept. Geotechnical Engineering and Geoscience. Barcelona
  • Karim Tamoh Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Dept. Geotechnical Engineering and Geoscience. Barcelona
Keywords: water management, Hydrus, inverse approach, water flux


Irrigated agriculture is usually performed in semi-arid regions despite scarcity of water resources. Therefore, optimal irrigation management by monitoring the soil is essential, and assessing soil hydraulic properties and water flow dynamics is presented as a first measure. For this purpose, the control of volumetric water content, θ, and pressure head, h, is required. This study adopted two types of monitoring strategies in the same experimental plot to control θ and h in the vadose zone: i) non-automatic and more time-consuming; ii) automatic connected to a datalogger. Water flux was modelled with Hydrus-1D using the data collected from both acquisition strategies independently (3820 daily values for the automatic; less than 1000 for the non-automatic). Goodness-of-fit results reported a better adjustment in case of automatic sensors. Both model outputs adequately predicted the general trend of θ and h, but with slight differences in computed annual drainage (711 mm and 774 mm). Soil hydraulic properties were inversely estimated from both data acquisition systems. Major differences were obtained in the saturated volumetric water content, θs, and the n and α van Genuchten model shape parameters. Saturated hydraulic conductivity, Ks, shown lower variability with a coefficient of variation range from 0.13 to 0.24 for the soil layers defined. Soil hydraulic properties were better assessed through automatic data acquisition as data variability was lower and accuracy was higher.


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How to Cite
Valdes-AbellanJ., Jiménez-MartínezJ., CandelaL., & TamohK. (2015). Comparison among monitoring strategies to assess water flow dynamic and soil hydraulic properties in agricultural soils. Spanish Journal of Agricultural Research, 13(1), e1201.
Water management