Many sandy soils in the Netherlands have a water-repellent surface layer covering a wettable soil with a shallow groundwater table. Fingers form in the water-repellent surface layer and rapidly transport water and solutes to the wettable soil in which the streamlines diverge. Although several field observations are available, this system has not yet been studied systematically. In this paper, we present a model with a steady-state water flow to which solutes are added as a pulse. The model predicts the flow through the distribution zone and through the finger in the water-repellent surface layer with a closed form solution and transport in the wettable subsoil numerically. Model calculations show that the travel time through the water-repellent surface layer and the thickness and hydraulic conductivity of the wettable soil have the strongest effect on the arrival time of the solute pulse at groundwater level. The calculations also show that, assuming transport in the wettable subsoil to take place in fingers, the travel time is considerably shorter than when the diverging flow in the wettable soil is included.
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