Modelling water flow and seasonal soil moisture dynamics in analluvial groundwater-fed wetland
Abstract. Complex interactions occur in riparian wetlands between groundwater, surface water and climatic conditions. Knowledge of the hydrology of these systems is necessary to understand their functioning and their value and models are a useful and probably essential tool to capture their hydrological complexity. In this study, a 2D-model describing saturated-unsaturated water flow is applied to a transect through a groundwater-fed riparian wetland located along the middle reach of the river Dijle. The transect has high levees close to the river and a depression further into the floodplain. Scaling factors are introduced to describe the variability of soil hydraulic properties along the transect. Preliminary model calculations for one year show a good agreement between model calculations and measurements and demonstrate the capability of the model to capture the internal groundwater dynamics. Seasonal variations in soil moisture are reproduced well by the model thus translating external hydrological boundary conditions to root zone conditions. The model proves to be a promising tool for assessing effects of changes in hydrological boundary conditions on vegetation type distribution and to gain more insight in the highly variable internal flow processes of riparian wetlands.
Keywords: riparian wetland,eco-hydrology, upward seepage, floodplain hydrology