An alternative strategy for saving limited water resources is using treated wastewater (TWW) originating from wastewater treatment plants. However, using TWW can influence soil properties owing to its characteristics compared to conventional water resources. Therefore, assessing the effect of TWW on soil properties
[...] Read more.
An alternative strategy for saving limited water resources is using treated wastewater (TWW) originating from wastewater treatment plants. However, using TWW can influence soil properties owing to its characteristics compared to conventional water resources. Therefore, assessing the effect of TWW on soil properties and soil water infiltration is crucial to maintain sustainable use of TWW and to increase the water use efficiency of the precious irrigation water. Moreover, several studies were carried out to assess the performance of infiltration models. However, few studies evaluate infiltration models under the use of treated wastewater. Therefore, this study aims to assess the effect of TWW irrigation on soil properties after 2 and 5 years and to evaluate five classical infiltration models with field data collected from soil irrigated by treated wastewater for their capability in predicting soil water infiltration. This study revealed that using TWW for irrigation affects significantly on soil properties after 2 and 5 years. The soil irrigated with TWW had significantly higher electrical conductivity, organic matter, sodium adsorption ratio, cation exchange capacity, and lower soil bulk density compared to control. The basic infiltration rate and cumulative infiltration decreased significantly compared to control (60.84, 14.04, and 8.42 mm hr−1
and 140 mm, 72 mm, and 62 mm for control, 2, and 5 years’ treatments, respectively). The performance of the infiltration models proposed by Philip, Horton, Kostiakov, Modified Kostiakov, and the Natural Resources Conservation Service was evaluated with consideration of mean error, root mean square error, model efficiency, and Willmott’s index. Horton model had the lowest mean error (0.0008) and Philip model had the lowest root mean square error (0.1700) while Natural Resources Conservation Service had the highest values (0.0433 and 0.5898) for both mean error and root mean square error, respectively. Moreover, Philip model had the highest values of model efficiency and Willmott’s index, 0.9994 and 0.9998, respectively, whereas Horton model had the lowest values for the same indices, 0.9869 and 0.9967, respectively. Philip model followed by Modified Kostiakov model were the most efficient models in predicting cumulative infiltration, while Natural Resources Conservation Service model was the least predictable model.