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Chapter 5: Infiltration and Runoff

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

Citation:  Pages 81-113 (doi:10.13031/swce.2013.5) in Soil and Water Conservation Engineering, 7th Edition . Copyright 2013 American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Mich.
Authors:   Rodney L. Huffman, Delmar D. Fangmeier, William J. Elliot, Stephen R. Workman
Keywords:   Soil, water, conservation, environment, 5.1 Saturated Hydraulic Conductivity--Darcy Equation, 5.2 Soil Factors, 5.3 Vegetation, 5.4 Soil Additives, 5.5 Other Factors, 5.6 Infiltration Curves, 5.7 Kostiakov Equation, 5.8 Horton Equation, 5.9 Phili

Introductory paragraphs: Infiltration and runoff are two important processes in the hydrologic cycle (Figure 1.1). Infiltration begins when precipitation reaches the land surface. Runoff begins when the precipitation rate exceeds the infiltration rate, and retention and surface storage are filled. The relationship between rainfall, infiltration, and runoff is illustrated in Figure 5.1.

Infiltration is the main source of water for vegetative growth and crop production, provides input to groundwater recharge, and transports water-soluble compounds, such as fertilizers, manures, herbicides, and other materials, from the land surface into the soil. Some infiltrated water eventually recharges the groundwater. A large fraction of infiltrated water returns to the atmosphere by evapotranspiration. A small fraction of infiltrated water may reappear as surface water and either runoff or infiltrate again.

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