Investigation of Water Movement in the Unsaturated Zone Under an Irrigated Area Using Environmental Tritium

Haim Gvirtzman*, Mordeckai Magaritz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations

Abstract

A 14‐ayear record of convective‐dispersive flow in the unsaturated zone was reconstructed using the difference between the environmental tritium content of rain and of irrigation water. Samples were taken from a loess profile in the northern Negev, Israel, in an area where precipitation is 200 mm/winter and irrigation is 650 mm/summer. The difference between the measured tritium profile and the input tritium profile was interpreted in terms of mobile and immobile water domains. The percentage of the total water which is immobile was estimated to be about 40% at the surface and 55% at 8.5 m depth. This leads to the estimate that 8 ± 1% of the rain and irrigation water percolated downward, with a velocity of 0.66 ± 0.03 m yr−1 and a maximal effective dispersion coefficient of 5 × 10−11 m2s−1. Using these values, we determined the limits of dispersivity (0.5–1.5 mm) and of tortuosity (0.05–0.11) in the medium studied.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)635-642
Number of pages8
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume22
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 1986

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