Estimation of soil water content and evapotranspiration from irrigated cropland on the North China Plain

Wiley-VCH Verlag Gmbh
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal Of Plant Nutrition And Soil Science-Zeitschrift Fur Pflanzenernahrung Und Bodenkunde Journal Of ..., 2008, 171 (5), pp. 751 - 761
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For nearly 30 y, cropland on the North China Plain (NCP) has been irrigated primarily by pumping groundwater with no sustainable management strategy. This has caused a continuous decline of the water table. A sustainable groundwater management and irrigation strategy must be established in order to prevent further decline of the water table; to do this, one must quantify soil water content and daily rates of deep percolation and locate evapotranspiration from irrigated cropland. For that purpose, we developed a three-layer soil-water balance (SWB) model based on an approach described by Kendy et al. (2003). In this model, the unsaturated soil zone is divided into three layers: a surface active layer, a middle active soil layer, and a lowest passive soil layer. The middle and the lowest layers dynamically change with the development of crop rooting depth. A simple "tipping bucket" routine and an exponential equation are used to redistribute soil water in the three soil layers. The actual evapotranspiration estimated is partitioned into soil evaporation and crop transpiration using a dual crop coefficient reference approach. At first, the model was calibrated using data obtained from five deficiently irrigated field plots located at an experimental site in the NCP between 1998 and 2003. Then, the model was validated by comparing estimated soil water contents with measured ones at three other plots with nondeficient irrigation.
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