Hydrological behavior of Alfisols and Vertisols in the semi-arid zone: Implications for soil and water management uri icon

abstract

  • Understanding of the hydrological behavior of soils is a prerequisite for developing appropriate soil and water management practices. Such information for Alfisols and Vertisols, the two major soils in the semi-arid tropics (SATs), is scanty especially from a long-term perspective. In this paper, we describe and discuss results from long-term (from 1976 to 2010) hydrological studies conducted on small agricultural watersheds on Vertisols and Alfisols at the ICRISAT Center, Patancheru, India. The hydrological behavior of soils are characterized in terms of runoff volume, peak runoff rate, number of runoff events, soil loss, sediment concentration and deep drainage loss under different rainfall, crop cover and soil moisture conditions to aid in developing effective soil and water management practices. We also provide details on the effects of annual and monthly rainfall on the hydrological behavior of these soils in different rainfall regions. The results show that Alfisols and Vertisols in the SATs have very contrasting hydrological behavior. Several findings emerging from our studies, are rather unexpected. For example, the sandy Alfisols with higher saturated hydrological conductivity generated higher runoff compared to the clayey Vertisols with extremely low saturated hydraulic conductivity. The undesirable early season runoff from Alfisols is higher than from Vertisols. The contribution of 1?2 big storms to annual runoff and soil loss was high on both soils. The contrasting hydrological behavior of these two soils is due to differences in soil characteristics such as crusting, sealing and low structural stability in Alfisols; and the presence of cracks during the early season and formation of micro-cracks during rainless periods in Vertisols. The results suggest that the information from the long-term hydrological studies is useful for determining appropriate soil and water management practices and strategies in different rainfall regions

publication date

  • 2013
  • 2013