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Using remote sensing and GIS techniques for studying irrigation performance of Palo Verde Irrigation District




Taghvaeian, Saleh, author
Neale, Christopher M. U., author
dos Santos, Carlos A. C., author
Watts, Doyle, author
Osterberg, John, author
Sritharan, Subramania I., author
U.S. Committee on Irrigation and Drainage, publisher

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Managing water resources in western US has been a challenge for decision makers. In the last few decades, the rapid growth rates of population along with the alarming rates of global warming have added to the complexity of this issue. In this study, remote sensing techniques have been applied to evaluate the performance of agricultural irrigation, the largest consumptive user of water. The study area, "Palo Verde irrigation District" which is located in Riverside and Imperial counties, California, is an old irrigation district with a fairly heterogeneous cropping pattern. Landsat Thematic Mapper satellite images were used to estimate the actual ET using the SEBAL energy balance model. These estimates were integrated to obtain crop water demand for different periods throughout the growing season. The amount of diverted water was also estimated for the same periods, using flow measurements within the Palo Verde irrigation district. The results were analyzed within the ArcGIS environment in conjunction with water conveyance and field boundary layers to evaluate different performance indicators such as relative water supply, overall consumed ratio, depleted fraction, crop water deficit, and relative evapotranspiration. The results of these indicators can help irrigation managers to get a general idea of how the system performs and to identify possible ways of improving it.


Presented at the fifth international conference on irrigation and drainage, Irrigation and drainage for food, energy and the environment on November 3-6, 2009 in Salt Lake City, Utah.

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