Infiltration, runoff and particle mobilization on canola fields at langgewens experimental farm, Mooreesburg, Western Cape
Mmachaka, Thandi Nthabiseng
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The primary origin of this project is due to a high demand for freshwater supply in the Berg Water Management Area (WMA). Most of the Berg WMA`s freshwater supply does not live up to the high ecological standards. This is mainly due to high sediments loading in the Berg River which is one of the water supplies to the Berg WMA. The project was conducted on a small-scale catchment at Langgewens experimental farms in Swartland district. The focus of this study was to address some of the hydrological processes active in the research catchment: infiltration, run-off and sediment mobilization on different soil types under wheat and canola vegetation cover. This was done to investigate the origin of sediments in the Berg River. Considering the results, one might conclude that the decayed root systems from the canola and wheat vegetation covers, organic matter content, soil cracks, slope orientation, and soil composition, all played a major role in influencing the ability of the soil to absorb the simulated rainfall. Because the infiltration was calculated using the difference between the incoming simulated rainfall and the measured run-off, there was an inverse relationship between run-off and infiltration. When run-off was low, the infiltration was high and vice versa. iv Factors that governed sediment mobilisation within the ring area are micro topography within the ring area, the slope gradient and vegetation covers. Considering the results, vegetation cover played a pivotal role and it must be maintained at all times. It is advisable that the land users leave crop residual cover behind after the annual harvest and not expose the land surface in bare form for too long as this will generate more run-off and increase sediment mobilisation. The analyses showed that wheat crop protects the soil from rain drop impact than on canola crop.