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Evaluating performance of soil water movement and groundwater recharge in an irrigated agricultural area of Yinchuan Plain, China
  • Lihu Yang,
  • XF Song
Lihu Yang
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences
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XF Song
Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research Chinese Academy of Sciences
Author Profile


Surface irrigation has been predominantly used for field crops in agriculture area to boost agricultural yields and outputs, however, this may also raise groundwater tables, salinize soils and reduce water quality due to poor irrigation management. Therefore, it is essential for requiring a better understanding of the hydrologic mechanisms related to soil water fluxes (e.g., evaporation, transpiration, infiltration, deep percolation and groundwater capillary rise) by surface irrigation. This study investigated the impact of surface irrigation on soil water movement and recharge to groundwater in the Yellow River irrigation area of Yinchuan Plain, China. Combining comprehensive filed observation and stable isotopic techniques, we described the soil water mechanism under two land covers (bare ground or maize) in 2019 and 2020. The soil depths affected by precipitation infiltration and evaporation were mainly 0-50 cm, while the soil influenced by irrigation was the entire profile in the mode of piston flow. According to soil water potential variation from 70 to 100 cm, we conclude that the maize root took up the soil water up to the depth of 100 cm during the tasseling period. The infiltration and capillary rise in 2020 were similar with those in 2019. However, the total deep percolation was 156.6 mm in 2020 which was smaller than that in 2019 because of the maize root water uptake. The leakage of ditch was the major recharge resource of groundwater for the fast water table rise. This study is critical for agricultural water management to improve irrigation efficiency and water use efficiency in arid regions.