2. Materials and Methods
2.1. The Research Site Geographical and Hydrogeological Conditions
2.2. Modeling Setup
2.2.1. Hydrogeological Survey
- Drilling and installation of nine observation piezometers (indicated by the letter Pin Figure 2), each 7 m deep. All piezometers were equipped with a slit filter and gravel filling surrounding them at a depth interval of 3 to 5 m;
- To study the sediment cover and the unsaturated zone hydrophysical and mechano-physical properties, eight test sites consisting of shallow observation wells and equipped with nitrometers and moisture meters were prepared;
- Groundwater level and salinity monitoring in the six monitoring wells (indicated by the letter W in Figure 2) were performed monthly from January to April and from September to December. From May to August, every 10 days in the first and third quarters (April, May, and October), as well as four times a month from June to September; monitoring was done in observation piezometers,
- The groundwater hydro-chemical regime and irrigation effect were studied by water solution chemical analyses, including pH, Ca, Mg, Na + K, Cl, SO4, and HCO3 concentrations; total dissolved solids (TDS); and the sodium adsorption ratio (SAR). Water sampling was done in May, August, and October (i.e., in the beginning, closer to the end of the growing season, and during the opening of the damper on the K-2 collector);
- The field measurement database included rainfall and irrigation regimes, drainage water discharge, and evaporation potential. The database was compiled in 2016 and based on reported data of the Zonal Hydrogeological-Ameliorative Center of the Ministry of Agriculture, Republic of Kazakhstan, beginning from 2012 .
2.2.2. The Site Mathematical Computer Modeling Structure
2.2.3. Model Illustration
- The groundwater flow rate to the aquifer through the northern border, as recharge in the boundary blocks of the model;
- The existing subsurface drainage;
- Irrigation water infiltration during the irrigation period, as recharge in the corresponding blocks of the model;
- The water level in the Kapshagai reservoir;
- Rain precipitation from April to November 2017.
2.2.4. Model Calibration and Validation
2.2.5. Model Predictions
3.1. Model Calibration
3.2. Model Validation
3.3. Model Prediction
3.4. Assessment of Additional Drainage Water Irrigation Source for Crop Root Zone Moisturizing
- The MODFLOW spatial distribution groundwater flow model provided reliable information about artificial groundwater recharge from existing drainage in complex hydrogeological and intensive farming conditions. The hydrogeological and ameliorative conditions of the geo-filtration model for the experimental site of Kazakhstan’s Shengeldy agricultural area were based on and validated by field study results and met the specified model solution accuracy and reliability requirements;
- The model’s additional groundwater recharge prediction due to existing drainage infiltration under the current irrigation conditions was validated against experimental data obtained at the site in 2017. It was found that at the end of the growing season, the groundwater table’s additional elevation from drainage infiltration would be about 1.5 m below the drains, and the additional groundwater recharge influence zone would spread to up to 350 m from the drains.
- Based on the simulation results, detailed groundwater head contour maps and flow paths, as well as groundwater table depths from the soil surface, were made for typical periods of irrigation. The groundwater flow balances that were calculated in the model for the same periods made it possible to quantify and characterize the temporal change in the groundwater flow balance. The calculated irrigation water infiltration loss reached 40.5% of the irrigation water supply.
- The experimental study and field monitoring results confirmed the MODFLOW simulation, showing that under certain conditions drainage can be an additional source of irrigation. Furthermore, through the artificial use of groundwater capillary rise to the lower root system boundary, crop nourishing and moisturizing can be obtained during the growing season.
- Agriculture is an important sector in the economy of Central Asia that is restricted by water scarcity . The new capillary fringe irrigation approach presented in this paper can more than double the arable land in Kazakhstan and neighboring countries. Seasonal undulation in the groundwater level is necessary to prevent accumulation of salts in the soil section .
Institutional Review Board Statement
Informed Consent Statement
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
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|Infiltration from storage pond||0.02||0.001||0.03||0|
|Infiltration of irrigation water and precipitation||58.1||117||9.6||3.1|
|Outflow to Kapshagai reservoir||2.3||1.1||0.031||−1|
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