State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project ID: 2009TX327B
Title: Influence of Land Use and Terrain on Surface Hydrology in Shrink-Swell Soils.
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2009
End Date: 2/28/2010
Congressional District: 31
Focus Categories: Hydrology, Surface Water, Non Point Pollution
Keywords: shrink-swell, crack dynamics, land use, hydrology
Principal Investigators: Dinka, Takele M; Morgan, Cristine
Federal Funds: $ 5,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 11,107
Abstract: Cracking of soils across a watershed reduces the amount of surface runoff and enhances rapid flow of water into the soil and the ground water. However, most hydrological models do not account for cracking dynamics and its spatial extent. Seasonal cracking of soils is mainly driven by the change in soil moisture; however, temporal interactions with antecedent soil moisture and plant roots associated with land use are also suspected to affect crack opening and closure. Therefore, understanding the impact of land use on soil shrink-swell potential is needed to accurately represent hydrology in shrink swell landscapes. The overall objective of this research is to characterize the impact of land use and terrain attributes on spatial and temporal cracking dynamics. Upon completion of this project, we expect to predict when soil cracks open, spatial extent of cracking, volume of cracks, and when they close. The simulation of crack opening and closure will be based on soil physical properties, soil moisture, terrain attributes (contributing area, slope, curvature), and land use. This knowledge will be used to modify and refine soil infiltration and hydrology models that simulate runoff, infiltration and solute transport across watersheds. In addition, we will be partnering with a local high school teacher at Mart ISD to a bring real-world, field-based science problem into to her high school classes and to integrate the honor students' class project in this research.

Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF

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