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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-581
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-581
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 11 Dec 2018

Research article | 11 Dec 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

A Unique Vadose Zone Model for Shallow Aquifers: the Hetao Irrigation District, China

Zhongyi Liu1,2, Xingwang Wang1, Zailin Huo1, and Tammo Siert Steenhuis2 Zhongyi Liu et al.
  • 1Center for Agricultural Water Research in China, China Agricultural University, Beijing, 100083, PR China
  • 2Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

Abstract. Rapid population growth is increasing pressure on the world water resources. Agriculture will require crops to be grown with less water. This is especially the case for the closed Yellow River basin necessitating a better understanding of the fate of irrigation water in the soil. In this manuscript, we report on a field experiment and develop a physical based model for the shallow groundwater in the Hetao irrigation district in Inner Mongolia, in the arid middle reaches of the Yellow River. Unlike other approaches, this model recognizes that field capacity is reached when the matric potential is equal to the height above the groundwater table and not by a limiting soil conductivity. The field experiment was carried out in 2016 and 2017. Daily moisture contents at 5 depths in the top 90 cm and groundwater table depths were measured in two fields with a corn crop. The data collected were used for model calibration and validation. The calibration and validation results show that the model-simulated soil moisture and groundwater depth fitted well. The model can be used in areas with shallow groundwater to optimize irrigation water use and minimize tailwater losses.

Zhongyi Liu et al.
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Short summary
A novel approach is taken in simulating the hydrology of the vadose zone in areas with shallow groundwater. The model recognizes that field capacity is reached when the matric potential is equal to the height above the groundwater table. The model can be used in areas with shallow groundwater to optimize irrigation water use and minimize tail water losses.
A novel approach is taken in simulating the hydrology of the vadose zone in areas with shallow...
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