Submitted to: CRC Press
Publication Type: Book / chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/1/2004
Publication Date: 2/20/2005
Citation: Munoz-Carpena, R., Ritter, A., Bosch, D.D. 2005. Field methods for monitoring soil water status. CRC Press 2/05:167-195(2005) Interpretive Summary: The water content in the soil is an important soil characteristic. It is used to evaluate irrigation needs, runoff susceptibility, and plant available water. Knowledge of the amount of water existing in the soil is critical to understanding many fundamental environmental processes. Information describing the different techniques available for determining soil water is important for many different applications. Several different techniques are described here. The basic theory, advantages, and disadvantages of each method are presented. In addition, a simple method for selecting the appropriate measurement technique based upon these factors is offered.
Technical Abstract: A critical component of soil research and characterization is often the measurement of the amount of water in the soil. In the context of water management for irrigation, measuring and monitoring soil water status is an essential component of best management practices to improve the sustainability of agriculture. Direct measurement methods, where the water content in the soil is physically measured by collecting soil samples, as well as indirect methods, where the water content is determined through indirect measurements, are described. The basic theory, advantages, and disadvantages of each method are described. The suitability of each method depends on several factors such as cost, accuracy, response time, installation, management, and durability. A simple method for selecting the appropriate measurement technique based upon these factors is presented.