Submitted to: Encyclopedia of Water Science
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/1/2003
Publication Date: 7/22/2003
Citation: Bosch, D.D., Shirmohammadi A. The Encyclopedia of Water Science. B.A. Stewart and T. Howell, editors. Marcel Dekker, Inc. New York, N.Y. Hydraulic conductivity rates in soils. DOI:10.1081/E-EMS 120010156. Pp. 919-922. 2003. Interpretive Summary: Early studies of the rate at which water enters the soil found that this rate was proportional to measurable forces in the soil. The constant relating the two was termed the hydraulic conductivity. Hydraulic conductivity is a widely used soil parameter, used to describe the flow of water, oil, and gas within porous media. The hydraulic conductivity is useful for estimating infiltration rates into the soil, subsequent movemen of this water to plant roots, water flow to subsurface drains and wells, surface water flow, and evaporation from the soil. Representative values of hydraulic conductivity and methods of determination are presented. This information provides the reader with a general background of the definition and application of hydraulic conductivity.
Technical Abstract: Infiltration of water into the soil and subsequent movement of this water to plant roots are critical considerations for agricultural production. Other interests which involve understanding the movement of water through the soil include water flow to subsurface drains and wells, surface water flow, and evaporation from the soil to name a few. Because of this, the characterization of the infiltration of water into the soil is critical. The property which describes the rate at which water flows through the soil is called the hydraulic conductivity. Hydraulic conductivity is a function of the position in the porous media and the direction of flow. The definition and application of hydraulic conductivity is discussed. Representative values of hydraulic conductivity and methods of determination are presented.