Water flow and solute transport in furrow-irrigated fields

Fariborz Abbasi, Jan Feyen, Robert L. Roth, Mike Sheedy, M. T. Van Genuchten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Field-scale solute transport experiments are not easily implemented because of the overwhelming problems of soil heterogeneity and variability in subsurface hydraulic and solute transport properties. In this paper, the results of four field-scale furrow irrigation experiments designed to investigate the effect of flow depth and solute application time on bromide distribution along and below the furrows are presented. One experiment was conducted under free-draining (FD) conditions in which bromide was applied during the entire irrigation event. Three experiments were carried out in blocked-end furrows in which bromide was injected either during the entire irrigation event (100%), the first half of the irrigation (FH), or the second half of the irrigation (SH). The FD experiment was equipped with neutron probe tubes for measuring soil water contents at different times and locations in furrow cross-section whereas soil samples for bromide analysis and gravimetric soil water contents from all the experiments were collected at different depths up to 1.80 m, 5 days after the irrigation at three locations near the inlet, in the middle, and close to the outlet of the furrows. Overland flow depths along the furrows were also recorded using staff gauges at the inlet, middle, and outlet sites every few minutes during the entire irrigation. Results showed substantial non-uniformity in solute movement along the monitored furrows, with the degree of non-uniformity depending upon flow depth and solute application time. Non-uniform distributions were observed especially at the outlet sites, compared with those at the inlet and middle sites. Solute application efficiencies for the FD, 100%, FH, and SH experiments were 50, 100, 64, and 93%, respectively. The effects of flow depth and irrigation/solute application time on soil water contents were more pronounced in the soil surface layers and were found to be relatively minor at deeper depths. Water and solute deep percolation rates also showed dependency to flow depth and solute application/opportunity time and gradually decreased along the furrows.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalIrrigation Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Water flow and solute transport in furrow-irrigated fields'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this