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Awan, UK; Tischbein, B; Conrad, C; Martius, C; Hafeez, M (2011). Remote Sensing and Hydrological Measurements for Irrigation Performance Assessments in a Water User Association in the Lower Amu Darya River Basin. WATER RESOURCES MANAGEMENT, 25(10), 2467-2485.

Irrigation water management in Central Asia is notorious for its inefficiency. We assessed the operational performance of the irrigation scheme in one Water Users Association (WUA), Shomakhulum, in Khorezm district, Uzbekistan, in 2007 to provide recommendations for strategic water management planning. Relative evapotranspiration (RET), delivery performance ratio (DPR), drainage ratio (DR), depleted fraction (DF), overall consumed ratio (OCR), field application ratio (FAR) and conveyance ratio (CR) were used as performance indicators. The components of the water balance were obtained through remote sensing techniques and hydrological field measurements. The surface energy balance algorithm for land (SEBAL) was applied to MODIS satellite data to derive actual and potential evapotranspiration. Inflows and outflows were quantified with field measurements in the irrigation and drainage network using discharge rating curves. Ponding experiments allowed determining canal seepage losses. Water balances at field level were established for application efficiency estimations. The indicator values were then compared to efficiency target values taken from the literature in order to assess the operational capabilities of the irrigation scheme. The general performance of the irrigation scheme is very poor. DPRs exceeding 1.0 indicate that more water is delivered to the system than is demanded. The seasonal DF of 0.4 is lower than the target value of 0.6. Losses during the field application averaged at 57%, which is 24% above target values. Seasonal DR, OCR, CR and RET are 0.55, 0.51, 0.76 and 0.82 against the target values of 0.1, 0.54, 0.84 and 0.75, respectively. We conclude that the distribution mechanism can be considerably improved. Besides improving water distribution (timing and equity) in the network, another recommended intervention would be to increase the DF, particularly by interventions at field level that raise the FAR, which in turn will improve DR and OCR. This can be achieved by introducing modern water management approaches such as laser leveling, double-sided irrigation, and control of inflow through flow-measuring devices installed at farm gates, and adequate water pricing.



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