Abstract

Richards equation is solved for soil water flow modeling in the unsaturated zone continuum. Interblock hydraulic conductivities, while solving for Richards equation, are estimated by some sort of averaging process based on upstream and downstream nodes hydraulic conductivity values. The accuracy of the interblock hydraulic conductivity estimation methods mainly depends on the distance between two adjacent discretized nodes. In general, the accuracy of the numerical solution of the Richards equation decreases as nodal grid discretization increases. Conventional interblock hydraulic conductivity estimation methods are mostly mere approximation approaches while the Darcian-based interblock hydraulic conductivities involve complex calculations and require intensive computation under different flow regimes. Therefore, in this study, we proposed an effective saturation-based weighting approach in the soil hydraulic curve functions for estimating interblock hydraulic conductivity using a one-dimensional vertical finite-difference model which provides a parametric basis for interblock hydraulic conductivity estimation while reducing complexity in the calculation and computational processes. Furthermore, we compared four test case simulation results from different interblock hydraulic conductivity methods with the reference solutions. The comparison results show that the proposed method performance in terms of percentage reduction in root mean square and mean absolute error over other methods compared in this study were 59.5 and 60%, respectively.

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