Ecohydrology of groundwaterdependent ecosystems: 1. Stochastic water table dynamics Academic Article uri icon


  • Areas with a relatively shallow water table are environments where the groundwater plays a key role on the ecosystem function, and important interactions exist between hydrology and ecosystem processes. We propose here an analytical model to study the interactions between rainfall, water table, and vegetation in groundwater-dependent ecosystems. The water table dynamics are studied as a random process stochastically driven by a marked Poisson noise representing rainfall events. Infiltration, root water uptake, water flow to/from an external water body, and capillary rise are accounted for in a probabilistic description of water table fluctuations. We obtain analytical expressions for the steady state probability distribution of water table depth, which allows us to investigate the long-term behavior of water table dynamics, and their sensitivity to changes in climate, vegetation cover, and water management. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

published proceedings

  • Water Resources Research

author list (cited authors)

  • Laio, F., Tamea, S., Ridolfi, L., D'Odorico, P., & RodriguezIturbe, I.

citation count

  • 82

complete list of authors

  • Laio, Francesco||Tamea, Stefania||Ridolfi, Luca||D'Odorico, Paolo||Rodriguez‐Iturbe, Ignacio

publication date

  • May 2009