The infiltration rate of a soil is defined as the rate at which water enters the soil from the surface. When the soil profile is saturated and there is negligible ponding at the surface, the infiltration rate is equal to the effective saturated permeability or conductivity of the immediate soil profile. Although the measured infiltration rate on a particular site may decrease with time due to surface clogging, the subsurface vertical permeability at saturation will generally remain constant. As a result, the short-term measurement of infiltration serves reasonably well as an estimate of the long-term saturated vertical permeability within the zone of influence for the test procedure being used.
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