Analyses of groundwater flow and plant evapotranspiration in a vegetated soil slope

A. K. Leung (Lead / Corresponding author), C. W. W. Ng

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    76 Citations (Scopus)


    Understanding seasonal hydrogeological responses of vegetated soil slopes is vital to slope stability because pore-water pressure (PWP) varies from positive values upon rainfall in wet seasons to negative values upon plant evapotranspiration (ET) in dry seasons. There are, however, few case histories that report seasonal performance of vegetated soil slopes. In this study, a vegetated slope situated in Hong Kong was instrumented to analyse (i) groundwater flow during rainfall in the wet season and (ii) effects of plant ET on PWP in the dry season. Two- and three-dimensional anisotropic transient seepage analyses are conducted to identify groundwater flow mechanism(s) during a heavy rainstorm. Through water and energy balance calculations, measured plant-induced suction is interpreted with plant characteristic and climatic data. During the rainstorm, substantial recharge of the groundwater table was recorded, likely due to preferential water flow along relict joints and three-dimensional cross-slope groundwater flow. During the dry season, the peak suction induced by plant ET is up to 200 kPa and the depth of influence is shallower than 200% of the root depth. For the range of suctions monitored, root-water uptake is revealed to have been restricted by suction not very significantly and was driven mainly by the climatic variation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1204-1218
    Number of pages15
    JournalCanadian Geotechnical Journal
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2013


    • Matric suction
    • Seasonal behaviour
    • Slope
    • Three-dimensional transient seepage analysis
    • Vegetation

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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