You are on page 1of 5

SST 4303 Soil Conservation Lab report 3 WATER RETENTION





INTRODUCTION Soil water retention Soils can process and contain considerable amounts of water. They can take in water, and will keep doing so until they are full, or the rate at which they can transmit water into, and through, the pores is exceeded. Some of this water will steadily drain through the soil (via gravity) and end up in the waterways and streams. But much of it will be retained, away from the influence of gravity, for use of plants and other organisms to contribute to land productivity and soil health. The spaces that exist between soil particles, called pores, provide for the passage and/or retention of gasses and moisture within the soil profile. The soils ability to retain water is strongly related to particle size; water molecules hold more tightly to the fine particles of a clay soil than to coarser particles of a sandy soil, so clays generally retain more water (Leeper and Uren, 1993). Conversely, sands provide easier passage or transmission of water through the profile. Clay type, organic content and soil structure also influence soil water retention (Charman & Murphy 1977). The maximum amount of water that a given soil can retain is called field capacity, whereas a soil so dry that plants cannot liberate the remaining moisture from the soil particles is said to be at wilting point (Leeper & Uren 1993). Available water is that which the plants can utilise from the soil within the range of field capacity and wilting point.The role of soil water retention is profound - its effects are far reaching and relationships are invariably complex. This section focuses on a few key roles and recognises that it is beyond the scope of this discussion to encompass all roles that can be found in the literature. Soil water retention and organisms Soil water retention is essential to life. It provides an ongoing supply of water to plants between periods of replenishment (infiltration) so as to allow their continued growth and survival. Over much of temperate Victoria, Australia, for example, this effect is seasonal and even inter-annual; the retained soil water that has accumulated in preceding wet winters permits survival of most perennial plants over typically dry summers when monthly evaporation exceeds rainfall. Soil water retention and climate Soil moisture has an effect on the thermal properties of a soil profile, including conductance and heat capacity, explains Oke (1987); the association of soil moisture and soil thermal properties has a significant effect on temperature-related biological triggers, including seed germination, flowering and faunal activity.

Recent climate modelling by Timbal et al. (2002) suggests a strong linkage between soil moisture and the persistence and variability of surface temperature and precipitation; further, that soil moisture is a significant consideration for the accuracy of inter-annular predications regarding the Australian climate. Soil water retention, water balance and other influences The role of soil in retaining water is significant in terms of the hydrological cycle; including the relative ability of soil to hold moisture and changes in soil moisture over time:

Soil water that is not retained or used by plants may continue downward through the profile and contribute to the water table, the permanently saturated zone at the base of the profile this is termed recharge. Soil that is at field capacity (among other reasons) may preclude infiltration so to increase overland flow. Both effects are associated with ground and surface water supplies, erosion and salinity. Soil water can affect the structural integrity or coherence of a soil saturated soils can become unstable and result in structural failure and mass movement. Soil water, its changes over time and management are of interest to geo-technicians and soil conservationists with an interest in maintaining soil stability.

Material 1. Pressure chambers (100, 500, and 1500 kPa),pressure control manifold, air compressor, and ceramic plates (100, 500, and 1500 kPa plates) 2. Soil sample retaining rings 3. Core ring with plastic caps 4. Hammer 5. Oven 6. Weighing balance

Procedure Procedure to determine the soil water content at five suction levels : 0, 1, 10, 33, and 1500 kPa Procedure taking sample from soil have be done last 2 week,refer to laboratory report 2.(my group is from soil at the grass area). 1. Sample retaining rings are placed on each 4 porous plates for 1, 10, 33, and 1500 kPa.

2. Break the core samples into 5 pieces of roughly equal size.Every pieces of sample put in the different plate of retaining ring (step 1).For the 0 bar pressure (saturation) the sample is placed in a retaining ring on a coarse wire mesh. 3. All saturated ceramic plates are keeping in the water level for 24 hours just below the edge of the ring. 4. All the plate with sample are placed inside the corresponding pressure chamber.Plate are connect to the out flow tube.Then , close the chamber and apply pressure.(for 1, 10, 33 kPa pressure use the 100 kPa ceramic plate, for the 1500 kPa pressure use the 1500 kPa plate). 5. Equilibrium was attained when no more out flow occurs.A period of 4 to 7 days is usually sufficient to achieve this for most soils.Release the air pressure in the chamber. 6. Open the chamber,remove the samples and weigh each of them (Wa). 7. Oven-dry the samples at 105oC for 24 hours and weigh each of the soil samples again (Wb) 8. Plot a log-scaled chart with the volumetric water content on the y-axis and the soil suction on the x-axis.

Result Data (soil at grass area)

0-15 cm Dish + wet soil Dish + dry soil Water Volumetric water content 15 30 cm Dish + wet soil Dish + dry soil Water Volumetric water content

0 63.84 g 57.475 g 6.365 g 0.16

1 59.639 g 54.900 g 4.739 g 0.13

10 62.778 g 56.901 g 5.877 g 0.15

33 68.972 g 62.908 g 6.604 g 0.15

1500 67.181 g 61.845 g 5.336 g 0.12

0 65.49 g 57.566 g 7.924 g 0.20

1 64.680 g 58.176 g 6.504 g 0.16

10 59.147 g 54.451 g 4.696 g 0.13

33 60.774 g 55.853 g 4.921 g 0.13

1500 60.438 g 56.199 g 4.239 g 0.11

Bulk density = 1.475 g cm-3 Volumetric water content = (dish + wet soil) (dish + dry soil) x bulk density soil (dish + dry soil) Discussion (Refer graph) In the graph (0-15 cm depth) show that with increasing soil suction, the soil becomes progressively drier in a non linear manner.soil moisture retention curves typically show a S-mirror image shape.In this example, the soil moisture content at saturation and permenant wilting point are 0.13, and 0.12 m3 m-3, respectively.The available water content for plant use is0.13 0.12 = 0.01 m3m-3. In the graph (15 30 cm depth) show that with increasing soil suction, the soil becomes progressively drier in a non linear manner.soil moisture retention curves typically show a S-mirror image shape.In this example, the soil moisture content at saturation, field capacity, and permenant wilting point are 0.16, 0.13 and 0.11 m3 m-3, respectively.The available water content for plant use is 0.13 0.11 = 0.02 m3m-3.

Conclusion Soil water retention is widely studied and reported on in the literature due to its extensive and profound role; it is a key part of the hydrological cycle, provides support to organisms, interacts with climate, and is a major consideration in ground and surface water supply, environmental and geotechnical aspects. References Teh , C.B.S. and Talib, J. 2006 , Soil Physics Analyses , Universiti Putra Malaysia Press