Articles | Volume 7, issue 1
28 Feb 2003
28 Feb 2003

An easily installable groundwater lysimeter to determine waterbalance components and hydraulic properties of peat soils

K. Schwaerzel and H. P. Bohl

Abstract. A simple method for the installation of groundwater lysimeters in peat soils was developed which reduces both time and financial effort significantly. The method was applied on several sites in the Rhinluch, a fen peat land 60 km northwest of Berlin, Germany. Over a two-year period, upward capillary flow and evapotranspiration rates under grassland with different groundwater levels were measured. The installation of tensiometers and TDR probes additionally allowed the in situ determination of the soil hydraulic properties (water retention and unsaturated hydraulic conductivity). The results of the measurements of the unsaturated hydraulic conductivity demonstrate that more than one single method has to be applied if the whole range of the conductivity function from saturation to highly unsaturated is to be covered. Measuring the unsaturated conductivity can be done only in the lab for an adequately wide range of soil moisture conditions.

Keywords: peat soils, soil hydraulic properties, evapotranspiration, capillary flow, root distribution, unsaturated zone