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Estimating Preferential Infiltration and Redistribution from Real-time Measurements of Soil Water Content

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Pp. 97-100 in Preferential Flow, Water Movement and Chemical Transport in the Environment, Proc. 2nd Int. Symp. (3-5 January 2001, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA), eds. D. D. Bosch and K. W. King. St. Joseph, Michigan: ASAE  701P0006.(doi:10.13031/2013.2135)
Authors:   J. L. Starr
Keywords:   preferential flow, infiltration, multi-sensor capacitance probes, real-time measurements

Preferential infiltration and flow of water in soils are highly transient processes, but can be estimated from real-time measurements of hydrologic conditions (e.g., water content). Soil and crop management factors can impact water infiltration and redistribution resulting in preferential water flow. The purpose of this paper is to assess the capability of measuring preferential flow from near-continuous measurements of soil water content profiles and the associated water inputs at a nearby climate station. Multisensor capacitance probes (MCP) and monitoring system were installed in maize plots to assess year around variation in these processes, and to relate observations to changing soil, crop, rainfall, and antecedent water conditions. The MCP provided for collection of near- continuous measurements (10 minute intervals over a three-year period) on soil water storage and redistribution. In this study we focused on soil water content changes shortly before, during, and shortly after rainfall to estimate water infiltration and redistribution.

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