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Prediction Of Hydraulic Conductivity For Some Australian Soils

Zahra Paydar, Anthony J. Ringrose-Voase

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Pedotransfer functions and their use in simulation modelling have attracted much attention during recent years. In the absence of measured hydraulic conductivity data, prediction from other soil properties would be most useful. A functional form relating near-saturated hydraulic conductivity to the soil water retention curve based on the Kozeny–Carman equation was investigated on Australian soils. For a dataset comprising a range of soil textures and structural conditions (107 samples with bulk density >1.2 Mg/m3) a power-law relationship between near-saturated hydraulic conductivity, effective porosity, and pore size distribution index was obtained. The function was tested on 2 different datasets for independent evaluation. The results showed poor predictions for most soils in this study. While the reasons for poor predictions might be the difference in the measurement techniques or potentials, it is thought that the proposed function mostly fails predictions on soils with high organic matter and management practices affecting macropores and soil structure (e.g. crust). The proposed function did not show much improvement over the more general form of the Kozeny–Carman equation with empirical coefficients. In the absence of other data, the modified Kozeny–Carman equation (with or without water retention parameters) can be used, with caution, on similar soils and larger scale applications. More data are needed to test the reliabilty of these functions for use in specific locations.