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Weather Data Quality Control from Six Weather Stations in South Africa Surrounding Lesotho and ET Mapping: The Process in Sustainability Assessment and Design Criteria for Irrigation for Lesotho.

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

Citation:  Paper number  SD14-015,  ASABE/CSBE North Central Intersectional Meeting. (doi: 10.13031/sd14015) @2014
Authors:   Ntsieng Angelinah Rasoeu, Jeppe Kjaersgaard, Todd Trooien, Chris Hay
Keywords:   Irrigation, food insecurity, Lesotho, Water distribution, Evapotranspiration, precipitation.


Lesotho is one of the countries that are severely affected by food insecurity. Factors contributing to this food insecurity include: low yields due to severe drought, frost, hail and unexpected heavy rains and land degradation. At present Lesotho is therefore forced to seek food aid from the international communities in order to feed its population. Hence Irrigation may be of help in this Country. Despite Lesotho taken as a whole, has a relatively ample water supply, its topography, underdeveloped water distribution and climate variability remain a large challenge in widespread implementation of irrigation. The literature describes different irrigation systems but the gap remains in connecting the topography and water distribution for many areas to install irrigation systems. Therefore, the objective of this research was to explore, assess and provide design criteria for effective, low cost, environmentally friendly irrigation systems that can work in Lesotho based on varying topography and water distribution. Our approach uses weather data from 6 South Africa weather stations closest to Lesotho to compute evapotranspiration (ET) to estimate crop consumptive use and irrigation water requirements, and map and design irrigation system for a particular area. This paper explains the weather data quality control performed to check the errors in the data and mapping of ET. Weather data within Lesotho was found to be of poor quality hence it was not used. Results showed that precipitation and ET vary with weather stations and ET is higher than precipitation during growing season indicating irrigation requirement. Our results show that the ET ranges from 1mm/day to7mm/day while precipitation ranges from 0 to 60mm/day.

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