Loughborough University
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Soil water conservation and water balance model for micro-catchment water harvesting system

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posted on 2012-11-16, 08:45 authored by Mahmoud Al-Ali
A simple water balance model was applied to a micro-catchment water harvesting system for a semi-arid area in the North-Eastern part of Jordan. Two Negarim micro-catchment water harvesting systems were built at Al-Khanasri research station. A Randomized complete block design (RCBD) in factorial combination was used with six treatments and three replicates. Each plot was divided into two parts; a runoff area, and a run-on area. Two different treatments were used for the catchment area, these were: compacted (T1) and Natural treatments (T2). Three treatments were used for the run-on area, these were: disturbed (S1), stones (S2), and crop residue mulch (S3). Soil water content was measured over a depth of 0-1 m during the seasons 96-97 in these micro-catchments. In this model; daily rainfall, runoff, and evaporation were used. Runoff was calculated by the curve number method; evaporation was calculated by the Penman equation, the Priestley and Taylor method and the Class A pan approach. The least squares method was used for optimizing model parameters. The performance of the model was assessed by different criteria, such as root mean square error, relative root mean square error, coefficient of determination and the Nash-Sutcliffe efficiency method. The performance of the micro-catchments system was also evaluated. Results showed that with limited but reliable hydrological data good agreement between predicted and observed values could be obtained. The ratio of water storage in a one meter soil depth to the rainfall falling on each catchment indicated that T1S2 and T1S3 have the highest values in size1 plots while T2S1 and T2S2 have the highest values in size 2 plots. Modelling results showed that for all the size 1 plots, the required ratio of the cultivated to catchment area, (C/CA), required to ensure sufficient harvested water, was less than the actual ratio used in the experimental design. For the size 2 plots this was only true for the T1 treatments. Consequently for the majority of plot sizes and treatments, the results showed that a smaller catchment area is capable of providing sufficient harvested water to meet crop growth requirements. The experimental ratio was based on a typical yearly design rainfall for the region having either a 50% or 67% probability of occurrence. Results also indicated that using stones and crop residue as mulch on the soil surface in the cultivated area was effective in decreasing the evaporation rate. S3 was more efficient than S2 as it stored more water due to the higher infiltration rate (12.4 cm/hr) when compared to S2 (4.1 cm/hr).



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© Mahmoud Al-Ali

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A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.

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