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J Environ Qual. 2003 Nov-Dec;32(6):2189-99.

Simulating pesticide leaching and runoff in rice paddies with the RICEWQ-VADOFT model.

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  • 1Istituto di Chimica Agraria ed Ambientale, Universit√† Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, 29100 Piacenza, Italy.


There is a current need to simulate leaching and runoff of pesticide from rice (Oryza sativa L.) paddies for assessing environmental impacts on a valuable agricultural system. The objective of this study was to develop a model for determining predicted environmental concentration (PEC) in soil, runoff, and ground water through the linkage of two models, rice water quality model (RICEWQ) and vadose zone transport model (VADOFT), to simulate pesticide fate and transport within a rice paddy and underlying soil profile. Model performance was evaluated with a field data set obtained from a 2-yr field experiment in 1997 and 1998 in northern Italy. The predictions of amount of pesticide running off from the paddy field and accumulating in the paddy sediment were in agreement with measured values. Leaching into the vadose zone accounted for approximately 19% of the applied dose, but only a small amount of chemical (<0.1%) was predicted to reach ground water at a 5-m depth due to sorption and transformation in the soil. The permeability of the soil and the water management practices in the paddy field were shown to have a strong influence on pesticide fate. These factors need to be well characterized in the field if model predictions are to be successful. The combined model developed in this work is an effective tool for exposure assessments for soil, surface water, and ground water, in the particular conditions of rice cultivation.

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