Preferential flow in soils and similar permeable media refers to processes of faster than average water movement through only a fraction of the pore space, thereby bypassing most of the matrix. Moreover, it is commonly accepted that preferential flow is dominantly gravity-driven, thus dealing with rapid water movement from higher to lower locations and excluding capillary rise. Preferential flow has become an important issue in environmental research and has gained increasing attention over the last three decades in the hydrology of soils and fractured rocks mainly—but not only—with respect to contaminant leaching and unintended pollution of subsurface and surface waters...

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