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This paper focuses on numerical modelling of soil water movement in response to the root water uptake that is driven by transpiration. The flow of water in a lysimeter, installed at a grass covered hillslope site in a small headwater catchment, is analysed by means of numerical simulation. The lysimeter system provides a well defined control volume with boundary fluxes measured and soil water pressure continuously monitored.
The evapotranspiration intensity is estimated by the Penman-Monteith method and compared with the measured lysimeter soil water loss and the simulated root water uptake. Variably saturated flow of water in the lysimeter is simulated using one-dimensional dual-permeability model based on the numerical solution of the Richards’ equation. The availability of water for the root water uptake is determined by the evaluation of the plant water stress function, integrated in the soil water flow model.
Different lower boundary conditions are tested to compare the soil water dynamics inside and outside the lysimeter. Special attention is paid to the possible influence of the preferential flow effects on the lysimeter soil water balance. The adopted modelling approach provides a useful and flexible framework for numerical analysis of soil water dynamics in response to the plant transpiration.