State Water Resources Research Institute Program

Project Id: 2006FL142B
Title: Expansion of Measurement of evapotranspiration, recharge, and runoff in a transitional water table environment
Project Type: Research
Start Date: 3/01/2010
End Date: 2/28/2011
Congressional District: 2
Focus Categories: Climatological Processes, Hydrology
Keywords: evapotranspiration, soil moisture, deep water table environment
Principal Investigator: Ross, Mark
Federal Funds: $ 15,000
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $ 30,000
Abstract: Three years of study have been completed at the USF Eco Site, a small undisturbed ecological study area lying within the Hillsborough River watershed in west-central Florida. The study site is a transitional hill slope spanning deep-to-shallow water table environments. Data being collected are soil moisture at various depths along a vertical profile with associated surficial-aquifer water levels along a hillslope and meteorological data. There are two primary study objectives for the current year: 1) to better understand the relationship between rainfall, soil moisture conditions and the depth to the water table to the time required for recharge to reach the water table and the fraction of rainfall that becomes recharge, and 2) to develop a means to estimate the water budget flux terms for points representative of west-central Florida. Water budget terms include infiltration, evaporation, transpiration, interception capture and groundwater support of the vadose zone. Of interest is the dry/wet season and dry/wet year runoff, recharge and ET distributions for the transitional environment and especially the more xeric (slash pine and scrub oak) habitats at this site. Additionally, insight is being gained concerning the time-scale of recharge, recharge periods and the differences in recharge and ET characteristics in deep and shallow water-table environments. To date, data have been collected for two complete years, 2007 an unusually dry year, and 2008, which although not as dry as 2007 was still a below normal year for rainfall. Preliminary results indicate that recharge to the deep surficial aquifer occurred primarily during the summer wet season while recharge to the shallow surficial aquifer occurred more frequently; however; much of the shallow water table recharge was quickly consumed by ET. Soil ET varied from a high of around 46 inches to a low of around 18 inches at a site on a relatively steep hillside. The time-scale of recharge can vary from hours in a shallow water-table environment to days in a deep water-table environment. Results from this study will be critical new information and understanding of the magnitude and time scale of runoff, recharge and ET processes from these environments. Findings from the study will be of immediate importance and use to water management entities as well as provide useful parameterization and conceptualization of processes for emerging integrated surface and groundwater computer models of the region, particularly in the IHM model which is partially funded by the Southwest Florida Water Management District.

Progress/Completion Report, 2006, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2007, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2008, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2009, PDF
Progress/Completion Report, 2010, PDF

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