EGU General Assembly 2022
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the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Towards a calibration of the HYDRUS-1D model on a wheat crop in the semi-arid conditions of Haouz region

Aicha Moumni and Abderrahman Lahrouni
Aicha Moumni and Abderrahman Lahrouni
  • Faculty of Sciences Semlalia, Cadi Ayyad University, Marrakesh, Morocco (

Due to the water shortage and poor management of limited water resources in semi-arid region, the improvement of irrigation efficiency became crucial. In this context, the objective of this work is to estimate water content and evapotranspiration using the HYDRUS-1D model. 

The study was carried out over wheat fields of the R3 perimeter (located in the Haouz plain of Marrakesh-Safi region, Morocco) for the growing season of 2003/2004. Four types of data have been used, namely: data related to the soil, data related to the plant, data related climatic parameters (recorded in a station close to the study site), and data related to the local agricultural practice.

We firstly used the inverse method, available in HYDRUS-1D, in order to estimate the hydrodynamic parameters of cultivated soil. The analysis of the convergence and consistency of this method showed that for correct calibration of the model, it is necessary to take into account the vertical heterogeneity of the soil. Therefore, we proceeded to the manual calibration of the model by testing different choices of initial parameters and taking into account the soil  vertical heterogeneity. The calibration carried out concerned mainly the water content of the soil and the evapotranspiration of the surface.

The simulations of the real evapotranspiration (ET) were carried out using the inputs obtained for the manual calibration. The results obtained by the HYDRUS-1D model gave an overestimation of the soil water content. This underestimation can be explained either by an underestimation of the LAI inputs or by the root extraction module that needs to be readjusted.

In the present work, the HYDRUS-1D model was tested, for the first time, over an area of Haouz plain in central Morocco.  The obtained results are not yet final. The model needs to be tested sufficiently over a wide spatio-temporal range. The HYDRUS-1D model is widely used in different regions of the world and the extensive literature reports a good score on the consistency and robustness of the model. Thus we are convinced that, overall, HYDRUS-1D seems to be an adequate model to estimate with acceptable accuracy the water content and the real ET under semi-arid conditions. It is also a promising tool for planning and decision support in the field of water and agro-environmental research.

How to cite: Moumni, A. and Lahrouni, A.: Towards a calibration of the HYDRUS-1D model on a wheat crop in the semi-arid conditions of Haouz region, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-3121,, 2022.


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