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Applied and Environmental Soil Science
Volume 2013, Article ID 957956, 10 pages
Research Article

Sediment Transport Model for a Surface Irrigation System

1Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI 53706, USA
2Agricultural and Food Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur 721302, India

Received 16 March 2013; Revised 25 June 2013; Accepted 11 July 2013

Academic Editor: Keith Smettem

Copyright © 2013 Damodhara R. Mailapalli et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Controlling irrigation-induced soil erosion is one of the important issues of irrigation management and surface water impairment. Irrigation models are useful in managing the irrigation and the associated ill effects on agricultural environment. In this paper, a physically based surface irrigation model was developed to predict sediment transport in irrigated furrows by integrating an irrigation hydraulic model with a quasi-steady state sediment transport model to predict sediment load in furrow irrigation. The irrigation hydraulic model simulates flow in a furrow irrigation system using the analytically solved zero-inertial overland flow equations and 1D-Green-Ampt, 2D-Fok, and Kostiakov-Lewis infiltration equations. Performance of the sediment transport model was evaluated for bare and cropped furrow fields. The results indicated that the sediment transport model can predict the initial sediment rate adequately, but the simulated sediment rate was less accurate for the later part of the irrigation event. Sensitivity analysis of the parameters of the sediment module showed that the soil erodibility coefficient was the most influential parameter for determining sediment load in furrow irrigation. The developed modeling tool can be used as a water management tool for mitigating sediment loss from the surface irrigated fields.