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ITRC Paper No. P 12-002.  Daniel J. Howes, Charles Burt, and Kyle Feist

Basin-Wide Remote Sensing of Actual Evapotranspiration and its Influence on Regional Water Resources Planning

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The Irrigation Training & Research Center (ITRC) at Cal Poly State University, San Luis Obispo has been using METRIC to compute actual evapotranspiration from remote sensing sources (namely LandSAT images). The driving force behind this is the increasing need for improved evapotranspiration information on a large scale. A recent study in the Mexicali Valley of Baja California, Mexico utilized the ITRC-modified METRIC procedure to compute the crop and riparian evapotranspiration component of a basin-wide water balance. The resulting comparison between the mass balance computed change in groundwater storage and that computed using groundwater elevation data showed excellent agreement. For water planning, the spatial variability in evapotranspiration can be very important. In this case, there was significant non-uniformity of evapotranspiration that can be attributed to irrigation and drainage infrastructure and management. Planned improvements in both irrigation and drainage infrastructure will likely lead to improved evapotranspiration uniformity, resulting in higher per-acre water consumption. Possible solutions will be discussed.


Howes, D.J., C.M. Burt, and K. Feist. 2012. Basin-Wide Remote Sensing of Actual Evapotranspiration and its Influence on Regional Water Resources Planning. Presented at USCID Conference on Managing Irrigation Systems in Today's Environment, Reno, Nevada, November 13-16, 2012. 13 pp.

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