Improvements in irrigation system modelling when using remotely sensed et for calibration

J. D. Van Opstal, C. M.U. Neale, S. Lecina

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Irrigation system modelling is often used to aid decision-makers in the agricultural sector. It gives insight on the consequences of potential management and infrastructure changes. However, simulating an irrigation district requires a considerable amount of input data to properly represent the system, which is not easily acquired or available. During the simulation process, several assumptions have to be made and the calibration is usually performed only with flow measurements. The advancement of estimating evapotranspiration (ET) using remote sensing is a welcome asset for irrigation system modelling. Remotely-sensed ET can be used to improve the model accuracy in simulating the water balance and the crop production. This study makes use of the Ador-Simulation irrigation system model, which simulates water flows in irrigation districts in both the canal infrastructure and on-field. ET is estimated using an energy balance model, namely SEBAL, which has been proven to function well for agricultural areas. The seasonal ET by the Ador model and the ET from SEBAL are compared. These results determine sub-command areas, which perform well under current assumptions or, conversely, areas that need re-evaluation of assumptions and a re-run of the model. Using a combined approach of the Ador irrigation system model and remote sensing outputs from SEBAL, gives great insights during the modelling process and can accelerate the process. Additionally cost-savings and time-savings are apparent due to the decrease in input data required for simulating large-scale irrigation areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRemote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XVI
EditorsChristopher M. U. Neale, Antonino Maltese
ISBN (Electronic)9781628413021
StatePublished - 2014
EventRemote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XVI - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Duration: Sep 23 2014Sep 25 2014

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceRemote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XVI


  • Ador model
  • agriculture
  • evapotranspiration
  • irrigation systems
  • remote sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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