Infiltration from surface and buried point sources: The Average wetting water content

F.J. Cook, P.J. Thorburn, Keith Bristow, C.M. Cote

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    11 Citations (Scopus)


    The assumption in analytical solutions for flow from surface and buried point sources of an average water content, , behind the wetting front is examined. Some recent work has shown that this assumption fitted some field data well. Here we calculated using a steady state solution based on the work by Raats [1971] and an exponential dependence of the diffusivity upon the water content. This is compared with a constant value of calculated from an assumption of a hydraulic conductivity at the wetting front of 1 mm day'1 and the water content at saturation. This comparison was made for a wide range of soils. The constant generally underestimated at small wetted radii and overestimated at large radii. The crossover point between under and overestimation changed with both soil properties and flow rate. The largest variance occurred for coarser texture soils at low-flow rates. At high-flow rates in finer-textured soils the use of a constant results in underestimation of the time for the wetting front to reach a particular radius. The value of is related to the time at which the wetting front reaches a given radius. In coarse-textured soils the use of a constant value of can result in an error of the time when the wetting front reaches a particular radius, as large as 80% at low-flow rates and large radii.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1364-1370
    Number of pages7
    JournalWater Resources Research
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2003


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