• Field Measurements of Soil-Water Content and Soil-Water Pressure

      Reginato, R. J.; Jackson, R. D.; U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phoenix, Arizona 85040 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      Knowledge of the dynamic water content-pressure potential relationship within the soil profile is useful in determining the importance of hysteresis under natural conditions. Continuous monitoring of water content in the field is now possible using recently developed gamma-ray transmission equipment which allows water content measurements in 1 cm-thick soil layers with an error of 0.0009 gm/gm. The nuclear equipment and the tensiometer assembly for pressure measurements are described. Soil water content and pressure in the top 10 cm of a field soil profile were measured continuously for a 2-week period following an irrigation. The highest water content was measured each day just before sunrise. This declined rapidly from early morning to early afternoon, and was followed by a gain during the mid-afternoon and evening. The amplitude of this diurnal change diminished with time after irrigation. The pressure potential at a depth of 1.5 cm decreased most rapidly as the water content declined, but not exactly in phase. This may have been due to temperature effects on the pressure metering system. A moisture characteristic curve was constructed from the data.
    • Renovating Sewage Effluent by Ground-Water Recharge

      Bouwer, Herman; Lance, J. C.; Rice, R. C.; U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phoenix, Arizona 85040 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      Sewage effluent is commonly used for the irrigation of crops that are not consumed raw. Due to continued population growth in the Salt River Valley, Arizona, economic reuse of municipal waste waters is becoming essential. The salt river bed has about 3 ft of fine loamy sand underlain by sand and gravel layers to great depth and a groundwater table at about 10 ft depth. These conditions are very favorable for high-rate waste water reclamation by groundwater recharge. The activated sludge plant in phoenix will probably be discharging 250 mgd by the year 2000. At 4.5 ft average annual water use, this could irrigate about 70,000 acres, possibly more than agriculture will need at that time. A sewage effluent renovation pilot project was located about 1.5 miles from the plant. It contains 6 parallel recharge basins 20 to 700 ft each, spaced 20 ft apart. The basins were covered by grass, gravel or were left bare. Observation wells were installed at various locations in the area. Results indicated that infiltration rates were fastest in the grassy basins. Phosphate, nitrogen and median fecal coliform levels were all lower after this form of tertiary treatment. Practical details of the application of this water reclamation method in the Salt River Valley are outlined. Costs would be 5 dollars/af, less than 1/10 the equivalent costs of in-plant tertiary treatments.
    • Seasonal Effects on Soil Drying After Irrigation

      Kimball, B. A.; Jackson, R. D.; U.S. Water Conservation Laboratory, Soil and Water Conservation Research Division, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Phoenix, Arizona 85040 (Arizona-Nevada Academy of Science, 1971-04-23)
      A study was made to determine how the evaporation rate from a bare Adelanto loam soil in Phoenix changes with season and with time since the last irrigation. The evaporation rates were determined by precision lysimeters in a bare field, with measurements being taken in every month of the year for at least a week after irrigation. The data exhibited a cosine-shaped curve, with a maximum evaporation rate of about 5 mm/day in summer and a minimum rate of about 2 mm/day in winter. By the seventh day, seasonal effects virtually disappear, and the evaporation rate is the same in both summer and winter, being about 2 mm/day after the 7th day and about 0.75 mm/day after the 21st day. It is generally accepted that soil dries in 3 stages, and the transition between the 1st and 2nd stages occurs when atmospheric conditions are no longer critical. In previous laboratory studies of soil drying, with constant atmospheric conditions, stage 1 was easily distinguished from stage II, and these results correlated closely with the equations of Gardner and Hillel. The individual drying curves of this field study were qualitatively different from the laboratory studies and did not confirm the predictions of the equations, suggesting that diurnal variations in temperature and other meteorological parameters have caused the difference.