Study on Movement of Water and Salt through Soil Column and Utilization of Hydrus-1D Program to Simulate Five Scenarios of Crop Production in Salt Affected Paddy Soil

  •  Panom Chaiyasit    
  •  Piya Duangpatra    
  •  Visoot Verasan    
  •  Varawoot Vudhivanich    


An experiment was conducted on the purpose to study movement of water and salt through soil column. Salt-affected paddy soil was assessed for its relevant transport parameters consisting of the hydraulic and the solute transport parameters. The hydraulic parameters included soil hydraulic conductivity (Ks) and the van Genuchten’s parameters (θs, θr, α, and n). In this experiment the solute transport parameters was referred to the coefficient of Langmuir’s isotherm which consisted of kd and η. Experience showed that hydraulic parameters were sensitive to changes of soil bulk density (ρb). Therefore pedotransfer functions describing the relations between these parameters with ρb were established. Straight line functions were found for θs and n, exponential functions were found for α and Ks, and logarithmic function was found for θr. Packing the soil in the physical column inevitably caused horizontal differentiation of different ρb. Bulk density of each layer was estimated by analysis of water flow through soil column at steady-state. Then ρb of each layer was calculated from the relation Ksb). After the ρb was known the van Genuchten’s parameters were calculated from the pedotransfer functions. A physical column of 4 inches diameter and 50 cm length was constructed. Sodium chloride solution EC 6 dS/m was fed on soil surface during the process of salinization and the feeding solution was changed to fresh water during the process of desalinization. Breakthrough solution was analyzed for Na concentration and the breakthrough curves were constructed. The relevant parameters as well as initial and boundary conditions were fed into Hydrus-1D on the purpose to simulate the breakthrough curves. Statistical comparison results using t-test and RMSE suggested that Hydrus-1D could be used successfully to monitor transport of water and salt through soil column.

Five scenarios concerning water and solute transport through soil profile under rice and mung bean cropping were simulated using Hydrus-1D. Simulation results suggested that continuous flooding was the most efficient way to leach soluble salts down to ground water. Wet/dry irrigation scheme for rice production could drain salts only when rice crop was in the first period of growth where crop water uptake was small. During later stages of growth concentration profile of Na remained almost unchange indicating negligible downward movement of salts. Leaving the soil to dry naturally during the dry season caused upward accumulation of salt to the degree smaller than cultivating mung bean since water content and hence the diffusion coefficient of the soil were higher and more favorable for upward salt diffusion than in the former case. Inserting the capillary rise hindering soil layer underneath mung bean root zone was found to retard upward diffusion of salt to the degree comparable to leaving the soil to dry naturally.

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