Relative contributions of transient and steady state infiltration during ephemeral streamflow

Kyle W. Blasch, Paul A Ferre, John P. Hoffmann, John B. Fleming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

30 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Simulations of infiltration during three ephemeral streamflow events in a coarse-grained alluvial channel overlying a less permeable basin-fill layer were conducted to determine the relative contribution of transient infiltration at the onset of streamflow to cumulative infiltration for the event. Water content, temperature, and piezometric measurements from 2.5-m vertical profiles within the alluvial sediments were used to constrain a variably saturated water flow and heat transport model. Simulated and measured transient infiltration rates at the onset of streamflow were about two to three orders of magnitude greater than steady state infiltration rates. The duration of simulated transient infiltration ranged from 1.8 to 20 hours, compared with steady state flow periods of 231 to 307 hours. Cumulative infiltration during the transient period represented 10 to 26% of the total cumulative infiltration, with an average contribution of approximately 18%. Cumulative infiltration error for the simulated streamflow events ranged from 9 to 25%. Cumulative infiltration error for typical streamflow events of about 8 hours in duration in is about 90%. This analysis indicates that when estimating total cumulative infiltration in coarse-grained ephemeral stream channels, consideration of the transient infiltration at the onset of streamflow will improve predictions of the total volume of infiltration that may become groundwater recharge.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberW08405
JournalWater Resources Research
Volume42
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2006

Fingerprint

stream flow
Infiltration
streamflow
infiltration (hydrology)
infiltration
ephemeral streams
saturated flow
duration
groundwater recharge
ephemeral stream
stream channels
basin fill
stream channel
vertical profile
alluvial deposit
Water content
Groundwater
water flow
recharge
basins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Aquatic Science
  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Relative contributions of transient and steady state infiltration during ephemeral streamflow. / Blasch, Kyle W.; Ferre, Paul A; Hoffmann, John P.; Fleming, John B.

In: Water Resources Research, Vol. 42, No. 8, W08405, 08.2006.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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