Water balance of irrigated areas: a remote sensing approach

Saleh Taghvaeian, Christopher M.U. Neale

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


An efficient management of our precious water resources is not possible without acquiring a comprehensive and detailed understanding on water fluxes at irrigated areas. In the past few decades, agricultural water balance analyses have been carried out at a wide variety of temporal (from hourly to annual) and spatial (from plant root zone to basin) scales. Scheme-wide water balance analyses, in particular, provide information on the amount of water supplied to irrigation schemes and its fate. This paper attempts to summarise the results of previous studies in quantifying water balance components of irrigation schemes, as well as to present challenges and opportunities of conducting such research projects. With recent improvements in air- and space-borne imaging of land surfaces, remote sensing techniques nowadays can serve as a powerful tool in monitoring/modeling water movements, at or near real time. Remote sensing contribution to water balance studies could be as simple as developing crop classification maps, or as complicated as estimating the spatially distributed evapotranspiration, which is perhaps the most critical water flux in irrigated areas. Therefore, this paper also aims to review the few studies that have incorporated satellite-derived products in their water budget analysis. Finally, the results of a case study from the southern California are presented to better demonstrate the potential of remotely sensed data.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4132-4141
Number of pages10
JournalHydrological Processes
Issue number26
StatePublished - Dec 30 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Irrigation schemes
  • Remote sensing
  • Water balance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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