Coupled surface-subsurface flow model for improved basin irrigation management

D. Zerihun, A. Furman, A. W. Warrick, C. A. Sanchez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The availability of a process-based coupled surface-subsurface model can lead to improved surface irrigation/fertigation management practices. In this study, a one-dimensional zero-inertia model is coupled with a one-dimensional unsaturated zone water-flow model: HYDRUS-1D. A driver program is used to effect internal iterative coupling of the surface and subsurface flow models. Flow depths calculated using the surface-flow model are used as Dirichlet boundary conditions for the subsurface-flow model, and infiltration amounts calculated by the subsurface model are in turn used in surface-flow mass balance calculations. The model was tested by using field data collected at the University of Arizona, Yuma Mesa, research farm. The maximum mean absolute difference between field-observed and model-predicted advance is 2 min. Applications of the coupled model in improved irrigation management are highlighted. In addition, the significance of the effects of soil moisture redistribution on irrigation water availability to crops and the capability of the coupled model in tracking those changes in soil water status over time are discussed using examples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 1 2005


  • Coupling
  • Hydrologic models
  • Irrigation practices
  • Surface irrigation
  • Unsaturated flow

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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