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21st Century hydrological modeling for optimizing ancient water harvesting techniques

Wim Cornelis UGent, Koen Verbist UGent, Robert G McLaren, Guido Soto and Donald Gabriëls UGent (2012) Agro Environ 2012.
abstract
In order to increase dryland productivity, water harvesting techniques (WHT) have received renewed attention, leading to their massive implementation in marginal drylands. However, versatile tools to evaluate their efficiency under a wide range of conditions are often lacking. For two case studies in the arid and semi-arid central-northern zone of Chile, a fully coupled 3D surface-subsurface hydrological model based on the Richards’ and the Saint Venant equations was used to evaluate and improve existing water harvesting techniques using infiltration trenches (locally called ‘zanjas’). The model was parameterized with detailed runoff and soil-water content data collected during simulated rainfall from a 6 x 2 m experimental plot including a catchment area and infiltration trench at the arid site. Using seven responsive parameters identified by a global sensitivity analysis, surface and subsurface flow processes were calibrated simultaneously. The calibrated model accurately reproduced observed soil moisture contents (R2 0.92) and runoff amounts (R2 0.97), and represented the overflowing infiltration trench, which is a clear improvement over existing frameworks. A comparative analysis with a natural slope demonstrated that the trench was efficient in capturing runoff under high rainfall intensities, such as the one simulated, resulting in a significant decrease (46%) of runoff. However, when extended to natural rainfall seasons, runoff water harvesting was insufficient in dry, normal and wet years, while only under very wet conditions 55% of the potential runoff was effectively harvested and stored in the soil profile. As such, this test case shows the importance of correct water harvesting design to become an effective tool in dryland management, taking both soil physical and climatic constraints into account. The model was further tested on a much larger scale of two ca. 3 ha large watersheds at the semi-arid site, one with infiltration trenches and one without. Good agreement was observed between measured and simulated runoff at the watershed outlet.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
keyword
drought, soil hydrology, water harvesting, water conservation
in
Agro Environ 2012
editor
Jacquelijn Ringersma and Leo Stroosnijder
pages
5 pages
conference name
8th International Symposium Agro Environ (Agro Environ 2012)
conference location
Wageningen, The Netherlands
conference start
2012-05-01
conference end
2012-05-04
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C1
copyright statement
I have retained and own the full copyright for this publication
id
2117062
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2117062
alternative location
http://library.wur.nl/ojs/index.php/AE2012/article/download/12413/12462
date created
2012-05-29 15:17:05
date last changed
2012-06-04 16:10:46
@inproceedings{2117062,
  abstract     = {In order to increase dryland productivity, water harvesting techniques (WHT) have received renewed attention, leading to their massive implementation in marginal drylands. However, versatile tools to evaluate their efficiency under a wide range of conditions are often lacking. For two case studies in the arid and semi-arid central-northern zone of Chile, a fully coupled 3D surface-subsurface hydrological model based on the Richards{\textquoteright} and the Saint Venant equations was used to evaluate and improve existing water harvesting techniques using infiltration trenches (locally called {\textquoteleft}zanjas{\textquoteright}). The model was parameterized with detailed runoff and soil-water content data collected during simulated rainfall from a 6 x 2 m experimental plot including a catchment area and infiltration trench at the arid site. Using seven responsive parameters identified by a global sensitivity analysis, surface and subsurface flow processes were calibrated simultaneously. The calibrated model accurately reproduced observed soil moisture contents (R2 0.92) and runoff amounts (R2 0.97), and represented the overflowing infiltration trench, which is a clear improvement over existing frameworks. A comparative analysis with a natural slope demonstrated that the trench was efficient in capturing runoff under high rainfall intensities, such as the one simulated, resulting in a significant decrease (46\%) of runoff. However, when extended to natural rainfall seasons, runoff water harvesting was insufficient in dry, normal and wet years, while only under very wet conditions 55\% of the potential runoff was effectively harvested and stored in the soil profile. As such, this test case shows the importance of correct water harvesting design to become an effective tool in dryland management, taking both soil physical and climatic constraints into account. The model was further tested on a much larger scale of two ca. 3 ha large watersheds at the semi-arid site, one with infiltration trenches and one without. Good agreement was observed between measured and simulated runoff at the watershed outlet.},
  author       = {Cornelis, Wim and Verbist, Koen and McLaren, Robert G and Soto, Guido and Gabri{\"e}ls, Donald},
  booktitle    = {Agro Environ 2012},
  editor       = {Ringersma, Jacquelijn and Stroosnijder, Leo},
  keyword      = {drought,soil hydrology,water harvesting,water conservation},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Wageningen, The Netherlands},
  pages        = {5},
  title        = {21st Century hydrological modeling for optimizing ancient water harvesting techniques},
  url          = {http://library.wur.nl/ojs/index.php/AE2012/article/download/12413/12462},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Cornelis, Wim, Koen Verbist, Robert G McLaren, Guido Soto, and Donald Gabriëls. 2012. “21st Century Hydrological Modeling for Optimizing Ancient Water Harvesting Techniques.” In Agro Environ 2012, ed. Jacquelijn Ringersma and Leo Stroosnijder.
APA
Cornelis, W., Verbist, K., McLaren, R. G., Soto, G., & Gabriëls, D. (2012). 21st Century hydrological modeling for optimizing ancient water harvesting techniques. In J. Ringersma & L. Stroosnijder (Eds.), Agro Environ 2012. Presented at the 8th International Symposium Agro Environ (Agro Environ 2012).
Vancouver
1.
Cornelis W, Verbist K, McLaren RG, Soto G, Gabriëls D. 21st Century hydrological modeling for optimizing ancient water harvesting techniques. In: Ringersma J, Stroosnijder L, editors. Agro Environ 2012. 2012.
MLA
Cornelis, Wim, Koen Verbist, Robert G McLaren, et al. “21st Century Hydrological Modeling for Optimizing Ancient Water Harvesting Techniques.” Agro Environ 2012. Ed. Jacquelijn Ringersma & Leo Stroosnijder. 2012. Print.