Evaluation of infiltration models and field-saturated hydraulic conductivity in situ infiltration tests during the dry season

  • Shutaro ShirakiEmail author
  • Aung Kyaw Thu
  • Yutaka Matsuno
  • Yoshiyuki Shinogi


Field-saturated hydraulic conductivity (Kfs) is an important parameter used to estimate field water requirements in irrigation systems, although it is widely considered to be difficult to determine. In this study, we conducted 27 field infiltration tests with a double-ring infiltrometer to determine Kfs in agricultural fields during the dry season in Myanmar. However, Kfs values estimated by fitting the Philip model (Soil Sci 84(3):257–264, 1957. to the measured data produced negative values for many fields. The aims of this study were the following: (1) to select an infiltration model applicable to irrigable fields for which parameter Kfs of the Philip model obtained negative values, (2) to identify factors causing erroneous Kfs values, and (3) to present a method of obtaining valid Kfs values in a case study conducted in Myanmar. Using the data obtained, the performance of five models, Philip, Swartzendruber (Water Resour Res 23(5):809–817, 1987., Brutsaert (Water Resour Res 13(2):363–368, 1977., Mezencev (Meteorol Hidrol 3:33–40, 1948), and Horton (Proc Soil Sci Soc Am 5:339–417, 1940), were assessed by examining fitting quality and estimates of Kfs values. The results showed the following: (1) The Horton model was the most useful, as it showed the better fitting of parameters; (2) factors that produced negative Kfs values were deformation of the infiltration curve due to the magnitude of initial infiltration caused by drying of the soil; and (3) nonnegative Kfs values were obtained by rejecting an initial infiltration period, determined by improving the cumulative linearization approach of the Philip model. The revised Kfs was overestimated in comparison with reference values, so a formula for applying revised Kfs was presented.


Infiltration model Field-saturated hydraulic conductivity Initial infiltration Double-ring infiltrometer 



The authors wish to express their gratitude to Dr. Khin Mar Htay, Department of Agricultural Research, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, and Irrigation, Myanmar, and their staff for generous assistance in the field test and laboratory test. We would also like to express our gratitude to the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.


This study was funded by operational expenses under Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences Research project on “Development of agricultural technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and climate-related risks in developing countries”.


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Copyright information

© The International Society of Paddy and Water Environment Engineering 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Shutaro Shiraki
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aung Kyaw Thu
    • 2
  • Yutaka Matsuno
    • 3
  • Yoshiyuki Shinogi
    • 4
  1. 1.Rural Development DivisionJapan International Research Center for Agricultural SciencesTsukubaJapan
  2. 2.Department of Agricultural ResearchMinistry of Agriculture, Livestock and IrrigationNaypyitawMyanmar
  3. 3.Department of Environmental Management, School of AgricultureKindai UniversityNaraJapan
  4. 4.Department of Agro-environmetal Sciences, School of AgricultureKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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