Soil water repellency affects soil water movement during infiltration significantly. The HYDRUS software has been popularly applied in soil water dynamics simulation for many years, but its performance in water-repellent (WR) soils has not been assessed thoroughly. Our objectives are to assess the performance of HYDRYUS-1D for cumulative infiltration (CI), wetting front (Zf), and volumetric soil water content (θv) during horizontal imbibition and vertical infiltration in wettable, slightly WR, and strongly WR soils. The key parameters of α and n in water retention curves were inversely estimated by RETension Curve software. The α and n were calibrated inversely until the observed data fitted the simulated values well enough. The α and n were then used for validation using three statistical parameters including relative root-mean-square error, R2, and Nash–Sutcliffe efficiency coefficient. The performances of calibration and validation for wettable, slightly, and strongly WR soils were good enough to be used for further simulations (RRMSE ≤20.2% for calibration and ≤21.1% for validation). Soil water movements for strongly WR soils of variable ponded depth during vertical infiltration were simulated. For Lou soil, as the ponded depth increased from 4 to 10 cm, the CI and Zf increased 2.08 and 5.5 cm, respectively. The simulations for the other three soils also showed gradually increased CI and Zf values. In conclusion, the performances of HYDRUS-1D in four different soil types with changing WR levels were good, which confirmed the application of HYDRUS-1D in WR soils.
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