Arid Site Water Balance Using Monolith Lysimeters

by G. W. Gee, Pacific Northwest Lab, Richland, United States,
M. D. Campbell, Pacific Northwest Lab, Richland, United States,
S. O. Link, Pacific Northwest Lab, Richland, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Grouting in Geotechnical Engineering


Four weighing lysimeters, containing monoliths of undisturbed soil, are located at the Arid Lands Ecology Reserve near Richland, Washington (USA), and are used to measure the water balance of two native plant communities. Each monolith, excavated on site from silt loam soil, has a surface area 1.5 m × 1.5 m, is 1.7 m deep and weighs about 6 Mg. Two lysimeters have a mixed vegetative cover of sagebrush and bunchgrass while two have a cover of bunchgrass alone (no sagebrush). The lysimeters are positioned on platform scales (9 Mg capacity) and lysimeter weight changes are resolved electronically to 50 g (equivalent to 0.02 mm water). Measurements of evapotranspiration (ET) and other water balance parameters (precipitation, storage, drainage) have been made with these lysimeters on a daily, seasonal and annual basis for the two plant communities since 1987. Water loss by evapotranspiration has been virtually the same for both plant communities during the past two years (1989 and 1990).

Subject Headings: Measuring instruments | Arid lands | Water balance | Concrete blocks | Aquatic habitats | Water use | Evapotranspiration | Water resources | United States | Washington

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