Special Issue "Rainfall Infiltration Modeling"

A special issue of Water (ISSN 2073-4441). This special issue belongs to the section "Hydrology and Hydrogeology".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Renato Morbidelli
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Perugia, via G. Duranti 93, 06125 Perugia, Italy
Interests: Water Resource Management; Hydrological Modeling; Hydrology; Hydrologic and Water Resource Modeling and Simulation; Water Balance; Watershed Hydrology; Surface Hydrology; Watershed Management; Evapotranspiration; Rainfall Runoff Modelling; Flood Modelling; Rainfall; Soil Physics; Watershed Modeling; Surface Water; Hydrological Data Management; Evaporation; Climate Change and Water; Time Domain Reflectometry; Tdr
Prof. Carla Saltalippi
Website
Guest Editor
Universita degli Studi di Perugia, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Perugia, Italy
Interests: Hydrological Modeling; Hydrology; Water Engineering; Watershed Hydrology; Surface Hydrology; Rainfall Runoff Modelling; Flood Modelling; Rainfall; Open Channel Hydraulics; River Engineering; Time Domain Reflectometry
Dr. Alessia Flammini
Website
Guest Editor
Universita degli Studi di Perugia, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Perugia, Italy
Interests: Environment; Water Resource Management; Soil; Hydrological Modeling; Hydrology; Environmental Engineering; Water Balance; Watershed Hydrology; Meteorology; Precipitation; Rainfall; Time Domain Reflectometry

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Rainfall infiltration is an important part of the physics of the hydrologic cycle and plays a crucial role in the formation of surface runoff, providing subsurface water that governs the water supply for agriculture, the transport of pollutants through the vadose zone and the recharge of aquifers.

The spatio-temporal evolution of the infiltration rate under natural conditions cannot be currently deduced by direct measurement at any scale of interest in applied hydrology, therefore the use of infiltration modeling that allows it to be described through measurable quantities is of fundamental importance.

In spite of the continuous development of infiltration modeling, the estimation of infiltration at different spatial scales, i.e. from the local to the watershed scale, is a complex problem because of the natural spatial variability of both soil hydraulic characteristics and rainfall.

For many years, research activity has been limited to the development of local or point infiltration models for vertically homogeneous soils. However, in addition to deepening this modeling, other interesting open problems should be addressed, including the modeling of point infiltration into vertically non-uniform soils, infiltration over horizontal heterogeneous areas and infiltration into soil surfaces with significant slopes.

Prof. Renato Morbidelli
Prof. Carla Saltalippi
Dr. Alessia Flammini
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

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Keywords

  • Hydrology
  • Infiltration process
  • Overland flow
  • Local infiltration modeling
  • Areal-average infiltration modeling
  • Non-uniform soils
  • Layered soils
  • Hillslope hydrology
  • Saturated–unsaturated flow model
  • Field and laboratory experiments

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle
Using Wastewater in Irrigation: The Effects on Infiltration Process in a Clayey Soil
Water 2020, 12(4), 968; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12040968 - 29 Mar 2020
Abstract
Soil water infiltration is a critical process in the soil water cycle and agricultural practices, especially when wastewater is used for irrigation. Although research has been conducted to evaluate the changes in the physical and chemical characteristics of soils irrigated by treated wastewater, [...] Read more.
Soil water infiltration is a critical process in the soil water cycle and agricultural practices, especially when wastewater is used for irrigation. Although research has been conducted to evaluate the changes in the physical and chemical characteristics of soils irrigated by treated wastewater, a quantitative analysis of the effects produced on the infiltration process is still lacking. The objective of this study is to address this issue. Field experiments previously conducted on three adjacent field plots characterized by the same clayey soil but subjected to three different irrigation treatments have been used. The three irrigation conditions were: non-irrigated (natural conditions) plot, irrigated plot with treated wastewater for two years, and irrigated plot with treated wastewater for five years. Infiltration measurements performed by the Hood infiltrometer have been used to estimate soil hydraulic properties useful to calibrate a simplified infiltration model widely used under ponding conditions, that were existing during the irrigation stage. Our simulations highlight the relevant effect of wastewater usage as an irrigation source in reducing cumulative infiltration and increasing overland flow as a result of modified hydraulic properties of soils characterized by a lower capacity of water drainage. These outcomes can provide important insights for the optimization of irrigation techniques in arid areas where the use of wastewater is often required due to the chronic shortage of freshwater. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling Groundwater Returns to Streams From Irrigation Areas with Perched Water Tables
Water 2020, 12(4), 956; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12040956 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Quantifying the magnitude and timing of groundwater returns to streams from irrigation is important for the management of natural resources in irrigation districts where the quantity or quality of surface water can be affected. Deep vadose zones and perched water tables can complicate [...] Read more.
Quantifying the magnitude and timing of groundwater returns to streams from irrigation is important for the management of natural resources in irrigation districts where the quantity or quality of surface water can be affected. Deep vadose zones and perched water tables can complicate the modelling of these fluxes, and model outputs may be biased if these factors are misrepresented or ignored. This study was undertaken in the Murray Basin in southern Australia to develop and test an integrated modelling method that links irrigation activity to surface water impacts by accounting for all key hydrological processes, including perching and vadose zone transmission. The method incorporates an agronomic water balance to simulate root zone processes, semi-analytical transfer functions to simulate the deeper vadose zone, and an existing numerical groundwater model to simulate irrigation returns to the Murray River and inform the management of river salinity. The integrated modelling can be calibrated by various means, depending on context, and has been shown to be beneficial for management purposes without introducing an unnecessary level of complexity to traditional modelling workflows. Its applicability to other irrigation settings is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Modelling Recharge from Irrigation Developments with a Perched Water Table and Deep Unsaturated Zone
Water 2020, 12(4), 944; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12040944 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Modelling of recharge under irrigation zones for input to groundwater modelling is important for assessment and management of environmental risks. Deep vadose zones, when coupled with perched water tables, affect the timing and magnitude of recharge. Despite the temporal and spatial complexities of [...] Read more.
Modelling of recharge under irrigation zones for input to groundwater modelling is important for assessment and management of environmental risks. Deep vadose zones, when coupled with perched water tables, affect the timing and magnitude of recharge. Despite the temporal and spatial complexities of irrigation areas; recharge in response to new developments can be modelled semi-analytically, with most outputs comparing well with numerical models. For parameter ranges relevant to the western Murray Basin in southern Australia, perching can reduce the magnitude of recharge relative to irrigation accessions and will cause significant time lags for changes to move through vadose zone. Recharge in the vicinity of existing developments was found to be similar to that far from existing developments. This allows superposition to be implemented spatially for new developments, thus simplifying estimation of recharge. Simplification is further aided by the use of exponential approximants for recharge responses from individual developments. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Modelling the Effect of Efficiency Measures and Increased Irrigation Development on Groundwater Recharge through a Deep Vadose Zone
Water 2020, 12(4), 936; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12040936 - 26 Mar 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
Water use measures are being implemented in irrigation areas to make better use of limited water resources and reduce adverse environmental impacts. A semi-analytical model is developed and tested with a numerical model to estimate changes in timing and magnitude of recharge from [...] Read more.
Water use measures are being implemented in irrigation areas to make better use of limited water resources and reduce adverse environmental impacts. A semi-analytical model is developed and tested with a numerical model to estimate changes in timing and magnitude of recharge from such measures in irrigation areas to support management of impacts, especially for areas with deep vadose zones and perched water tables. Low hydraulic conductivity of soil layers will lengthen time delays between actions and changes to recharge in addition to limiting the maximum recharge. Despite variations in detailed processes, the recharge outputs from models are surprisingly similar, irrespective of whether lateral effects are major. Superposition may be used to simplify the modelling of the total change in recharge from successive actions, including the initial development. Further simplification is possible, using an exponential conceptual model to approximate recharge responses to individual actions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Sensibility Analysis of the Hydraulic Conductivity Anisotropy on Seepage and Stability of Sandy and Clayey Slope
Water 2020, 12(1), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/w12010277 - 18 Jan 2020
Abstract
Evaluation of slope stability under rainfall is an important topic of Geotechnical Engineering. In order to study the influence of anisotropy ratio (kr = kx/ky) and anisotropy direction (α) on the seepage and stability [...] Read more.
Evaluation of slope stability under rainfall is an important topic of Geotechnical Engineering. In order to study the influence of anisotropy ratio (kr = kx/ky) and anisotropy direction (α) on the seepage and stability of a slope, the SEEP/W and SLOPE/W modules in Geo-studio were utilized to carry out the numerical analysis of a homogeneous slope in Luogang District, Guangzhou City, China, which is based on the theory of unsaturated seepage and stability. Two kinds of soils (clay and sand) were included. Results show that: For sandy soil slope, the increase of kr promotes the rainfall infiltration, and the decrease of α prevents the rainfall infiltration. The maximum water content of the surface (MWCS) reaches maximum with the increase of kr and α. The rising height of groundwater (RHG) is −3–4 m and the safety factor (SF) is 1.3–1.7. For clayey soil slope, variations of kr and α have little impact on the seepage characteristics and slope stability. The MWCS remains almost the same. The rainfall infiltration depth (RID) is 0.5–1 m and the SF is about 1.7. Therefore, for sandy soil slope, it is not only necessary to consider the influence of kr, but also the influence of α. For clayey soil slope, it can be treated as isotropic material to simplify calculation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Sensitivity Analysis on the Rising Relation between Short-Term Rainfall and Groundwater Table Adjacent to an Artificial Recharge Lake
Water 2019, 11(8), 1704; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11081704 - 16 Aug 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
This study aimed to determine the highly sensitive variables for a groundwater simulation model adjacent to an artificial recharge lake (ARL) using short-term rainfall events. The model was established using an artificial neural network (ANN) with rainfall events. Normalized rainfall, rainfall intensity, and [...] Read more.
This study aimed to determine the highly sensitive variables for a groundwater simulation model adjacent to an artificial recharge lake (ARL) using short-term rainfall events. The model was established using an artificial neural network (ANN) with rainfall events. Normalized rainfall, rainfall intensity, and groundwater data were selected as model variables. The coefficient of determination (R2) was used for model performance assessment. Finally, a sensitivity analysis (SA) was conducted to evaluate the importance of each model input. The study results indicated that the R2 of the ANN model ranged between 0.759 and 0.914. The SA showed that the rainfall was more sensitive than rainfall intensity in the study area. Based on the SA results and relevant geological characteristics, it was observed that the rainfall of past 1-day, past 2-day, and past 3-day responded faster than the other variables to the wells near the river and the ARL. In addition, the past 2-day rainfall was highly sensitive to the groundwater table; this may be due to the fact that the well screen location was above sea level as observed in Wells 1, 2, and 6. The results indicate that the groundwater table variation is response-related to the distance from the wells to the river and the ARL, and the rainfall time-lag. This SA study is helpful to researchers wishing to study related ARL efficiency issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
A Sensitivity Analysis of Simulated Infiltration Rates to Uncertain Discretization in the Moisture Content Domain
by Lulu Liu and Han Yu
Water 2019, 11(6), 1192; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11061192 - 07 Jun 2019
Abstract
An unconditionally mass conservative hydrologic model proposed by Talbot and Ogden provides an effective and fast technique for estimating region-scale water infiltration. It discretizes soil moisture content into a proper but uncertain number of hydraulically interacting bins such that each bin represents a [...] Read more.
An unconditionally mass conservative hydrologic model proposed by Talbot and Ogden provides an effective and fast technique for estimating region-scale water infiltration. It discretizes soil moisture content into a proper but uncertain number of hydraulically interacting bins such that each bin represents a collection of pore sizes. To simulate rainfall-infiltration, a two-step alternating process runs until completion; and these two steps are surface water infiltration into bins and redistribution of inter-bin flow. Therefore, a nonlinear dynamical system in time is generated based on different bin front depths. In this study, using rigorous mathematical analysis first reveals that more bins can produce larger infiltration fluxes, and the overall flux variation is nonlinear with respect to the number of bins. It significantly implies that a greater variety of pore sizes produces a larger infiltration rate. An asymptotic analysis shows a finite change in infiltration rates for an infinite number of bins, which maximizes the heterogeneity of pore sizes. A corollary proves that the difference in the predicted infiltration rates using this model can be quantitatively bounded under a specific depth ratio of the deepest to the shallowest bin fronts. The theoretical results are demonstrated using numerical experiments in coarse and fine textured soils. Further studies will extend the analysis to the general selection of a suitable number of bins. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Effects of Rainfall Intensity and Hydraulic Conductivity on Riverbank Stability
Water 2019, 11(4), 741; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040741 - 10 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Riverbank failure often occurs in the rainy season, with effects from some main processes such as rainfall infiltration, the fluctuation of the river water level and groundwater table, and the deformation of transient seepage. This paper has the objective of clarifying the effects [...] Read more.
Riverbank failure often occurs in the rainy season, with effects from some main processes such as rainfall infiltration, the fluctuation of the river water level and groundwater table, and the deformation of transient seepage. This paper has the objective of clarifying the effects of soil hydraulic conductivity and rainfall intensity on riverbank stability using numerical analysis with the GeoSlope program. The initial saturation condition is first indicated as the main factor affecting riverbank stability. Analyzing high-saturation conditions, the obtained result can be used to build an understanding of the mechanics of riverbank stability and the effect of both the rainfall intensity and soil hydraulic conductivity. Firstly, the rainfall intensity is lower than the soil hydraulic conductivity; the factor of safety (FOS) reduces with changes in the groundwater table, which is a result of rainwater infiltration and unsteady state flow through the unsaturated soil. Secondly, the rainfall intensity is slightly higher than the soil hydraulic conductivity, the groundwater table rises slowly, and the FOS decreases with both changes in the wetting front and groundwater table. Thirdly, the rainfall intensity is much higher than the soil hydraulic conductivity, and the FOS decreases dominantly by the wetting front and pond loading area. Finally, in cases with no pond, the FOS reduces when the rainfall intensity is lower than hydraulic conductivity. With low hydraulic conductivity, the wetting front is on a shallow surface and descends very slowly. The decreasing of FOS is only due to transient seepage changes of the unsaturated soil properties by losing soil suction and shear strength. These obtained results not only build a clearer understanding of the filtration mechanics but also provide a helpful reference for riverbank protection. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Conceptual Model for Slope-Infiltration
Water 2019, 11(4), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/w11040678 - 01 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Rainfall infiltration modeling over surfaces with significant slopes is an unsolved problem. Even though water infiltration occurs over soil surfaces with noticeable gradients in most real situations, the typical mathematical models used were developed for infiltration over horizontal surfaces. In addition, recent investigations [...] Read more.
Rainfall infiltration modeling over surfaces with significant slopes is an unsolved problem. Even though water infiltration occurs over soil surfaces with noticeable gradients in most real situations, the typical mathematical models used were developed for infiltration over horizontal surfaces. In addition, recent investigations on infiltration over sloping surfaces have provided conflicting results, suggesting that our understanding of the process may still be lacking. In this study, our objective is to specifically examine if the surface water velocity that is negligible over near horizontal soil surfaces can affect the infiltration process over steep slopes. A new conceptual model representing a wide range of experimental results is proposed. The model represents water flow as an ensemble of infinitesimal “particles” characterized by specific velocities and assumes that only “particles” with velocity less than a threshold value can contribute to the infiltration process. The velocity distribution and the threshold value depend on slope and soil type, respectively. This conceptual model explains observed results and serves as a foundation for developing further experiments and refining models that offer more realistic representations of infiltration over sloping surfaces. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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Review

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Open AccessReview
Rainfall Infiltration Modeling: A Review
Water 2018, 10(12), 1873; https://doi.org/10.3390/w10121873 - 18 Dec 2018
Cited by 4
Abstract
Infiltration of water into soil is a key process in various fields, including hydrology, hydraulic works, agriculture, and transport of pollutants. Depending upon rainfall and soil characteristics as well as from initial and very complex boundary conditions, an exhaustive understanding of infiltration and [...] Read more.
Infiltration of water into soil is a key process in various fields, including hydrology, hydraulic works, agriculture, and transport of pollutants. Depending upon rainfall and soil characteristics as well as from initial and very complex boundary conditions, an exhaustive understanding of infiltration and its mathematical representation can be challenging. During the last decades, significant research effort has been expended to enhance the seminal contributions of Green, Ampt, Horton, Philip, Brutsaert, Parlange and many other scientists. This review paper retraces some important milestones that led to the definition of basic mathematical models, both at the local and field scales. Some open problems, especially those involving the vertical and horizontal inhomogeneity of the soils, are explored. Finally, rainfall infiltration modeling over surfaces with significant slopes is also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rainfall Infiltration Modeling)
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