The moisture uptake by plant from soil is a key process for plant growth and movement of water in the soil–plant system. A non-linear root water uptake (RWU) model was developed for a multi-layer crop root zone. The model comprised two parts: (1) model formulation and (2) moisture flow prediction. The developed model was tested for its efficiency in predicting moisture depletion in a non-uniform root zone. A field experiment on wheat (Triticum aestivum) was conducted in the sub-temperate sub-humid agro-climate of Solan, Himachal Pradesh, India. Model-predicted soil moisture parameters, i.e., moisture status at various depths, moisture depletion and soil moisture profile in the root zone, are in good agreement with experiment results. The results of simulation emphasize the utility of the RWU model across different agro-climatic regions. The model can be used for sound irrigation management especially in water-scarce humid, temperate, arid and semi-arid regions and can also be integrated with a water transport equation to predict the solute uptake by plant biomass.