Simulation of water and salts dynamics in Bouhajla (Central Tunisia): exceptional rainfall effect

https://doi.org/10.17221/17/2011-SWRCitation:Kanzari S., Hachicha M., Bouhlila R., Battle-Sales J. (2012): Simulation of water and salts dynamics in Bouhajla (Central Tunisia): exceptional rainfall effect. Soil & Water Res., 7: 36-44.
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Arid and semi-arid regions face the risk of soils and aquifers salinization. Rainy events are rare which is characteristic of these regions. They play a significant role in the leaching of salts from topsoil to deeper layers, which increases the risk of aquifers salinization. For this reason, a plot was selected in the semi-arid region of Bou Hajla (Central Tunisia). The simulation of water and salts dynamics was carried out by Hydrus-1D. Model calibration was realised on a flood irrigation experiment during 10 days and in a depth of 4 m. The hydrodynamic parameters were determined by inverse modelling. Model validation was performed successfully during 577 days. The simulation of water and salts dynamics has allowed the analysis of two scenarios: (i) the effect of a very rainy event (> 50mm/day) on the dynamics of salts. This type of event allows leaching of the accumulated salts in the topsoil which promotes their burial in the depth; (ii) the long-term evolution of the saline profile in 20 years showed the cyclical nature of salts leaching in the topsoil, the permanent accumulation of salts in the depth of around 2 m, and a continuous leaching in the deeper layers (around 4 m), which may increase groundwater contamination risk.
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