Modeling the Effect of Slope and Precipitation on Lateral Flow in a Piedmont Soil
Radcliffe, David E.
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Nutrient contamination of surface water has received more attention in recent years prompting scientists to look for ways to protect water quality. Success in this effort will depend on a complete understanding of both surface and subsurface flow, especially in the dynamic period during and just after a storm. This study provides a theoretical estimate of lateral flow using the computer model VS2DT (Variably Saturated Two Dimensional Transport). Model storms with two-year return periods were used to estimate the percent of the total infiltration that flowed laterally under four slope conditions. The volume of lateral flow was directly related to the slope, with the 2, 5, 10, and 20-degree slopes contributing 0.8, 2.05, 5.96, and 12.00% after seven days of drainage following a 2-hour storm of 2.54 cm/hr precipitation rate. A shorter, more intense storm resulted in higher percentages of lateral flow (10. 71 % for the 10- degree slope.) Timing and total volume of lateral flow were also effected by storm distributions.