Design of runoff water harvesting systems and its role in minimizing water losses

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Abstract

Precipitation is one of the major water sources for agricultural production in arid and semi-arid areas. Rainfalls are limited, erratic and not always coincide with the crop growing season. Only a part of the rain is absorbed by the soil. Soil evaporation is most severe in these regions and the large part of the absorbed water is lost to evaporation. The technique of collecting and conveying the runoff is known as runoff harvesting. Microcatchments are one of the primary techniques used for collecting, storing and conserving local surface runoff for growing trees/shrubs. In this system, runoff water is collected close-by the area in which it was generated, and trees/shrubs may utilize the water. The main objective of the present research was to estimate the effect of the design of the micro-catchment collection area (shallow basin and deep trench) has on the efficiency of the water conservation in the soil profile. The study was carried out during two years using regular micro-catchments (three replicates) with a surface area of 9 m2 (3 x 3 m) and a depth of 0.1 m and trenches (three replicates) with a surface area of 12 m2 (12 x 1 m) and 1 m depth. One and three olive trees were planted inside the trenches and micro-catchments, respectively. Access tubes for neutron probe were installed in micro-catchments and trenches (four and seven, respectively) to depths of 3m. Soil water content in the soil profile was monitored. Sap flow in trees was measured by PS-TDP8 Granier sap flow system every 0.5 hour and fluxes computed for the time intervals that correspond to the soil water measurements. The first year study included flooding trenches and regular micro-catchments once with the same amount of water (1.5 m3) and the second year study included flooding four times with 0.25 m3 each time. Flooding was followed by monitoring the water balance components and estimation of evaporation losses and water use efficiency by olive trees. Evaporation from trenches and regular micro-catchments was estimated as the difference between evapotranspiration obtained by soil water content monitoring and transpiration estimated by sap flow measurements. The results clearly show that the evaporation from the regular micro-catchments was significantly larger than that of trenches during the entire duration of the both experiments.
Original languageEnglish GB
JournalGeophysical Research Abstracts
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2016

Keywords

  • 1041 Stable isotope geochemistry
  • GEOCHEMISTRYDE: 1615 Biogeochemical cycles
  • processes
  • and modeling
  • GLOBAL CHANGEDE: 1813 Eco-hydrology
  • HYDROLOGYDE: 1851 Plant ecology
  • HYDROLOGY

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