Estimating groundwater use patterns of perennial and seasonal crops in a Mediterranean irrigation scheme, using remote sensing

Journal ar
Agricultural Water Management
  • Volumen: 162
  • Fecha: 01 December 2015
  • Páginas: 47-56
  • ISSN: 18732283 03783774
  • Source Type: Journal
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.agwat.2015.08.003
  • Document Type: Article
  • Publisher: Elsevier
© 2015 Elsevier B.V.. This work explores the use of satellite-based vegetation indices (VI) to study groundwater use in a semi-arid agricultural irrigated area. The objective is to obtain insight in spatial and temporal patterns and differences in groundwater usage of perennial (mainly fruit trees) and seasonal crops (mainly row vegetable crops) under varying climatic conditions. Cropping intensities of seasonal crops are derived for each sector and irrigation water applied (IWA) is calculated using VI-based (NDVI from MODIS) actual evapotranspiration estimates and local efficiency factors. Groundwater use is then derived as the residual of total IWA and surface water supplies for each sector and crop type. The results of IWA following this methodology were compared with survey-based results for two crop types. Results correlated well, but deviate most during drought period, likely due to salt leaching practices. Monthly groundwater use patterns and spatial and temporal differences during normal water availability and drought conditions are reported. On average, about 50% of irrigation water is extracted from aquifers, but during droughts this percentage increases considerably. Perennial crops show sharper increases in groundwater use under such conditions than seasonal crops. Overall, seasonal crops put more pressure on the groundwater resource than perennial crops. Our results and methodology will be useful for water resource managers, and policy makers concerned with the role of groundwater resources on the sustainability of semiarid agricultural regions.

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