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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Soil and Water Conservation for Northwestern Irrigated Agriculture

Location: Northwest Irrigation and Soils Research

Title: Water balance for a west and midwest watershed

Authors
item Bjorneberg, David
item King, Kevin

Submitted to: ASABE Annual International Meeting
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: June 22, 2012
Publication Date: July 29, 2012
Citation: Bjorneberg, D.L., King, K.W. 2012. Water balance for a west and midwest watershed. ASABE Annual International Meeting, July 29 - August 1, 2012, Dallas, TX. Paper No. 12-1337056. p. 1-11.

Interpretive Summary: Water use in irrigated watersheds can be managed by adjusting irrigation diversions to meet irrigation needs. Precipitation is often the only source of water input in many watersheds, and its rate and timing cannot be controlled. Excess water is often drained from watersheds through surface or subsurface drains to provide suitable conditions for crop growth. The objective of this paper was to compare water balances for the irrigated Upper Snake-Rock (USR) watershed in southern Idaho and the subsurface drained Upper Big Walnut Creek (UBWC) watershed in central Ohio. Irrigation water diverted from the Snake River supplied 80% of the water input into the USR watershed. Precipitation only supplied 10 to 20% of the water in the USR compared to 100% in the UBWC watershed. Potential crop ET was estimated to use 37 to 51% of the total annual water input in the USR watershed and 30 to 55% in the UBWC watershed. The relative volume of water potentially used by crops in these two watersheds was quite similar on an annual basis even though the hydrology was quite different.

Technical Abstract: Water use efficiency is a term often applied to irrigated conditions to determine the amount of applied water that is used by crops. Water use in irrigated watersheds can be managed by adjusting irrigation diversions to meet irrigation needs. Precipitation is often the only source of water input in many watersheds, and its rate and timing cannot be controlled. Excess water is often drained from the watershed through surface or subsurface drains to provide suitable conditions for crop growth. The objective of this paper is to compare water balances for the irrigated Upper Snake-Rock (USR) watershed in southern Idaho and the subsurface drained Upper Big Walnut Creek (UBWC) watershed in central Ohio. Irrigation water diverted from the Snake River supplied 80% of the water input into the USR watershed. Precipitation only supplied 10 to 20% of the water in the USR compared to 100% in the UBWC watershed. Potential crop ET was estimated to use 37 to 51% of the total annual water input in the USR watershed and 30 to 55% in the UBWC watershed. The relative volume of water potentially used by crops in these two watersheds was quite similar on an annual basis even though the hydrology throughout the year is quite different.

Last Modified: 11/26/2014
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