Seasonal groundwater contribution to crop-water use assessed with lysimeter observations and model simulations

Journal of Hydrology




Groundwater evaporation can play an important role in crop-water use where the water table is shallow. Lysimeters are often used to quantify the groundwater evaporation contribution influenced by a broad range of environmental factors. However, it is difficult for such field facilities, which are operated under limited conditions within limited time, to capture the whole spectrum of capillary upflow with regard to the inter-seasonal variability of climate, especially rainfall. Therefore, in this work, the method of combining lysimeter and numerical experiments was implemented to investigate seasonal groundwater contribution to crop-water use. Groundwater evaporation experiments were conducted through a weighing lysimeter at an agricultural experiment station located within an irrigation district in the lower Yellow River Basin for two winter wheat growth seasons. A HYDRUS-1D model was first calibrated and validated with weighing lysimeter data, and then was employed to perform scenario simulations of groundwater evaporation under different depths to water table (DTW) and water input (rainfall plus irrigation) driven by long term meteorological data. The scenario simulations revealed that the seasonally averaged groundwater evaporation amount was linearly correlated to water input for different values of DTW. The linear regression could explain more than 70% of the variability. The seasonally averaged ratio of the groundwater contribution to crop-water use varied with the seasonal water input and DTW. The ratio reached as high as 75% in the case of DTW=1.0. m and no irrigation, and as low as 3% in the case of DTW=3.0. m and three irrigation applications. The results also revealed that the ratio of seasonal groundwater evaporation to potential evapotranspiration could be fitted to an exponential function of the DTW that may be applied to estimate seasonal groundwater evaporation. In this case study of multilayered soil profile, the depth at which groundwater may evaporate at potential rate was 0.60-0.65. m, and the extinction depth of groundwater evaporation was approximately 3.8. m. ?? 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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Seasonal groundwater contribution to crop-water use assessed with lysimeter observations and model simulations
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Journal of Hydrology
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