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Soil Science Society of America Journal Abstract -

Using Texture and Other Soil Properties to Predict the Unsaturated Soil Hydraulic Functions


This article in SSSAJ

  1. Vol. 52 No. 6, p. 1762-1770
    Received: Nov 27, 1987

    * Corresponding author(s):
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  1. J. H. M. Wösten and
  2. M. Th. van Genuchten 
  1. Netherlands Soil Survey Inst., P.O. Box 98, 6700 AB Wageningen, The Netherlands
    U.S. Salinity Lab., USDA-ARS, 4500 Glenwood Dr., Riverside, CA 92501



The unsaturated hydraulic properties of soils are important but difficult to measure. Rather than measuring the hydraulic properties directly, we followed a different approach by fitting analytical expressions for the soil water retention and hydraulic conductivity functions to experimental data for a wide range of soils in the Netherlands. Analysis of the data shows the flexibility of the analytical expressions and also gives insight into how the different model parameters affect the calculated unsaturated hydraulic functions. Regression analyses are used to relate the estimated model parameters to more easily measured soil properties, such as bulk density and percentages silt, clay and organic matter. After calibration, the relations are used to predict the hydraulic functions of soils for which only the more easily measured soil properties are available. Accuracy of the predictions is analyzed in terms of functional criteria which are relevant to practical management problems. The predictive regression models are useful for estimating the unsaturated soil hydraulic properties of large areas of land, but need improvement for application to specific sites.

Joint contribution from the Netherlands Soil Survey Institute and the U.S. Salinity Lab., USDA-ARS.

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