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The Impact and Value of Accurate Evapotranspiration Networks in Texas High Plains Production Agriculture

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan www.asabe.org

Citation:  Applied Engineering in Agriculture. 36(4): 451-455. (doi: 10.13031/aea.13913) @2020
Authors:   Thomas Henry Marek, Dana Porter, Terry A. Howell, Gary W. Marek, David Brauer
Keywords:   ET network, Evapotranspiration network, Irrigation scheduling, Irrigation value, Water management tools, Water savings.

Highlights

Irrigation scheduling using accurate ET network data can conserve energy and water.

ET networks can be a valuable, cost effective, and feasible management tool in water policy.

The Texas High Plains ET Network saved irrigated producers an estimated $US 22M dollars annually.

ET network benefits and use extend beyond the agricultural sector.

Abstract. Evapotranspiration (ET) networks have been developed and used to support weather and related ET information needs of U.S. agricultural production for nearly half a century, but many networks have been affected by inherent problems associated with sustaining operations. Consequently, these challenges have led to the discontinuation of network service in many cases. Most ET networks have been impacted by inadequate financial support compounded by inadequate public awareness and understanding of their usefulness and value in irrigation management, water conservation and water planning, and policy activities. Data accuracy is vital to usefulness, yet network data quality is often degraded when limited resources result in reduced equipment maintenance and data QA/QC. A discussion of ET network requirements and associated costs is presented. Estimates of the value and pumping reduction using the Texas High Plains ET networks are presented documenting the improvements of crop water use estimates and the impact associated with these improvements on irrigation groundwater withdrawal.

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