Artificial recharge efficiency assessment by soil water balance and modelling approaches in a multi-layered vadose zone in a dry region
To assess recharge through floodwater spreading, three wells, approx. 30 m deep, were dug in a 35-year-old basin in southern Iran. Hydraulic parameters of the layers were measured. One well was equipped with pre-calibrated time domain reflectometry (TDR) sensors. The soil moisture was measured continuously before and after events. Rainfall, ponding depth and the duration of the flooding events were also measured. Recharge was assessed by the soil water balance method, and by calibrated (inverse solution) HYDRUS-1D. The results show that the 15 wetting front was interrupted at a layer with fine soil accumulation over a coarse layer at the depth of approx. 4 m. This seemed to occur due to fingering flow. Estimation of recharge by the soil water balance and modelling approaches showed a downward water flux of 55 and 57% of impounded floodwater, respectively.