Abstract

Management of sodic soils under irrigation often requires application of chemical ameliorants to improve permeability combined with leaching of excess salts. Modeling irrigation, soil treatments, and leaching in these sodic soils requires a model that can adequately represent the physical and chemical changes in the soil associated with the amelioration process. While there are a number of models that simulate reactive solute transport, UNSATCHEM and HYDRUS-1D are currently the only models that also include an ability to simulate the impacts of soil chemistry on hydraulic conductivity. Previous researchers have successfully applied these models to simulate amelioration experiments on a sodic loam soil. To further gauge their applicability, we extended the previous work by comparing HYDRUS simulations of sodic soil amelioration with the results from recently published laboratory experiments on a more reactive, repacked sodic clay soil. The general trends observed in the laboratory experiments were able to be simulated using HYDRUS. Differences between measured and simulated results were attributed to the limited flexibility of the function that represents chemistry-dependent hydraulic conductivity in HYDRUS. While improvements in the function could be made, the present work indicates that HYDRUS-UNSATCHEM captures the key changes in soil hydraulic properties that occur during sodic clay soil amelioration and thus extends the findings of previous researchers studying sodic loams.

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