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Water 2017, 9(3), 171; doi:10.3390/w9030171

Impact of Groundwater Level on Nitrate Nitrogen Accumulation in the Vadose Zone Beneath a Cotton Field

1
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology–Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
2
College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
3
Station of General of Water Resources Panning in Agricultural and Pastoral Area of the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Urumqi 830001, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Arjen Y. Hoekstra
Received: 27 July 2016 / Revised: 22 February 2017 / Accepted: 24 February 2017 / Published: 28 February 2017
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Abstract

In this study, the impacts of groundwater level on nitrate nitrogen accumulation in the vadose zone of a cotton field were investigated. Experiments were conducted in a cotton field at the CAS Ecological Agricultural Experiment Station in Nanpi from 2008 to 2010. A vertical observation well was drilled, and time-domain reflectometry probes and soil solution extractors were installed every 50 cm in the walls of the well to a depth of 5 m. The soil water content was monitored, and soil solution samples were obtained and analyzed every six days throughout the growing seasons during the three studied years. Additionally, a water consumption experiment was conducted, and the topsoil water content and leaf area index were measured in the cotton field. The resulting data were used to estimate parameters for use in a soil hydraulic and nitrate nitrogen movement model, and cotton evapotranspiration was calculated using the Penman–Monteith method. Groundwater level increases and decreases of ±4 m were simulated during a ten-year period using HYDRUS-1D. The results showed significant nitrate nitrogen accumulation in the vadose zone when the groundwater level remained unchanged or decreased, with increased accumulation as the groundwater depth increased. Additionally, increased precipitation and a deeper groundwater level resulted in greater nitrate nitrogen leaching in the cotton root zone. Therefore, irrigation and fertilization strategies should be adjusted based on precipitation conditions and groundwater depth. View Full-Text
Keywords: groundwater depth; vadose zone; nitrate nitrogen; accumulation; situation-based simulation groundwater depth; vadose zone; nitrate nitrogen; accumulation; situation-based simulation
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Jiao, X.; Maimaitiyiming, A.; Salahou, M.K.; Liu, K.; Guo, W. Impact of Groundwater Level on Nitrate Nitrogen Accumulation in the Vadose Zone Beneath a Cotton Field. Water 2017, 9, 171.

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