Morteza Sadeghi, Department of Plants, Soils and Climate, Utah State University, Logan, UT, Scott B. Jones, 4820 Old Main Hill, Utah State University, Logan, UT, Markus Tuller, PO Box 210038, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ and Mohammad R Gohardoust, Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science, The University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ
Steady-state evaporation from a water table has been extensively studied for both homogeneous and heterogeneous media. For complex heterogeneous media it is of interest to find an equivalent homogeneous medium and define “effective” hydraulic properties. In this paper a new solution for steady-state evaporation from coarse-textured porous media is presented. Based on this solution, the evaporation rate represents a macroscopic (column scale) measure of unsaturated hydraulic conductivity. The corresponding pressure head is shown to be equal to the maximum extent of the hydraulically connected region above the water table (the characteristic length). The presented approach offers an alternative method for determination of unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of homogeneous coarse-textured soils and a new solution for prediction of the effective unsaturated hydraulic conductivity of layered coarse-textured soils. The solution was evaluated with both experimental data and numerical simulations. Comparison with experimental data and numerical results for hypothetically layered soil profiles demonstrate the applicability of the proposed approach for coarse-textured soils.