The uncertainty in a hydrological model, due to its structure or implemented input parameters, affects the accuracy of simulations that are usually used for important applications such as drought predictions, flood risk assessment, irrigation scheduling, ground water recharge and contamination. Several models describing soil infiltration processes have been developed. Some are analytical, while others implement numerical solutions of the Richards’ equation. The objective of this work was to assess the impact of infiltration process modeling on soil water content simulations. For this study, different infiltration models were included within FEST-WB (Flash Flood Event-based Spatially-distributed rainfall-runoff Transformations-Water Balance) distributed hydrological model (SCS-CN, Green and Ampt, Philip and Ross solution). Performances of implemented infiltration models in simulating soil water content were evaluated against observations acquired in the experimental site located in a maize field in northern Italy. Soil water content was monitored together with continuous measurements of meteorological data. A sensitivity analysis was performed to assess the most important parameters governing infiltration process in the different models tested. A comparison of soil water content simulations show that Ross solution allowed the description of soil moisture variation along the vertical, but simpler lumped models provide sufficient accuracy when properly calibrated.
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