A spatially distributed model of pesticide movement in Dutch macroporous soils

A. Tiktak, R.F.A. Hendriks, J.J.T.I. Boesten, A.M.A. van der Linden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


In the Netherlands, a spatially distributed version of the pesticide fate model PEARL is routinely used to assess the leaching potential of pesticides to groundwater. Recently, the model was modified to simulate the movement of pesticides to surface water. The peak concentration is considered to be the most important exposure endpoint for the ecotoxicological effect assessment for aquatic organisms. Macropore flow is an important driver for the peak concentration, so the leaching model PEARL was extended with a macropore module. Macropore parameters were derived from generally available soil data such as organic matter content and clay content using newly developed pedotransfer functions. These pedotransfer functions were constructed using a wide range of Dutch clayey soils. Results indicate a good correlation between these variables and soil structural parameters, which is due to the homogeneous mineralogical composition of Dutch clayey soils. Results of the spatially distributed modelling indicate that due to rapid transport through macropores, the concentration of pesticides in drainage water is generally higher in clayey soils than in light textured soils. In clayey soils, the boundary hydraulic conductivity and organic matter content were the most important drivers for the concentration in drainage water. Results further indicate that the concentration of pesticide in drainage water increases with increasing half-life and decreases with increasing sorption coefficient. However, the effect of these parameters is much less than obtained with the convection–dispersion equation because due to preferential flow most of the reactive part of the soil profile is bypassed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-327
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Issue numbernovember
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • clay soil
  • preferential flow
  • solute transport
  • hydraulic conductivity
  • unsaturated soils
  • water-flow
  • infiltration
  • simulation
  • rainfall
  • bromide


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