Simulation of water flow and nitrogen transport for a Bulgarian experimental plot using SWAP and ANIMO models

D. Marinov, E.P. Querner, J. Roelsma

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Unsaturated zone models are useful tools in predicting effects of measures and can be used to optimise agricultural practice aiming to minimise the impact on the environment. However, current soil models have a varying degree of abstraction level referring to simulated processes in time and space. In the framework of an EU funded project the SWAP (Soil¿Water¿Atmosphere¿Plant) and ANIMO (Agricultural-Nutrient-Model) models were tested for an experimental arable plot in Bulgaria. SWAP was used to simulate water flow in the soil while ANIMO describes nitrogen movement and transformations. The objectives of this study are: (i) to show results of the combined application of water and nitrogen dynamics of originally Dutch models SWAP and ANIMO for specific Bulgarian soil and hydrological conditions; (ii) to calibrate and evaluate SWAP and ANIMO models by comparing numerical results with field measurements collected for an arable field in western Bulgaria and (iii) to analyse possible contamination of groundwater due to agricultural practice in the considered region. Further a short description of the experimental plot, as well as information about parameters of the investigated soil profiles, is provided. The obtained SWAP results evidenced that the model gives sufficient adaptation for soil water dynamics. The simulations of ANIMO for nitrogen cycle show greater divergence with observations but are satisfactory precise for the purposes of assessing land use impact on groundwater quality. In general, differences between model results and field measurements do not exceed 10¿15%. For the experimental plot predictions indicate nitrate-N concentrations less then 5 mg/l in deeper soil compartments and low downward annual flux containing 0.133 kg N/ha. These results indicate that there is no serious pollution of the shallow groundwater table by nitrogen resulting from land use and agricultural activities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-164
JournalJournal of Contaminant Hydrology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • nitrate vulnerable zone
  • soil-crop system
  • vadose zone
  • management
  • dynamics
  • quality
  • scale
  • heat

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