A subregion block iteration (SBI) technique has been developed in conjunction with finite element approximations of saturated-unsaturated flow equations. The proposed SBI technique is implemented in a three-dimensional finite element saturated-unsaturated flow model. The model is verified with a nonlinear diffusion equation having an analytical solution. It is then applied to a burial trench problem. It is not possible to solve this field problem using the direct elimination finite element method. The SBI technique provides significant improvement over models based on direct band solution methods in both central processing unit (CPU) storage and CPU time.