How to account for irrigation withdrawals in a watershed model

Brochet, Elisabeth; Grusson, Youen; Sauvage, Sabine; Lhuissier, Ludovic; Demarez, Valérie

In agricultural areas, the downstream flow can be highly influenced by human activities during low-flow periods, especially during dam releases and irrigation withdrawals. Irrigation is indeed the major use of freshwater in the world. This study aims at precisely taking these factors into account in a watershed model. The Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWATinline-formula+) agro-hydrological model was chosen for its capacity to model crop dynamics and management. Two different crop models were compared in terms of their ability to estimate water needs and actual irrigation. The first crop model is based on air temperature as the main determining factor for growth, whereas the second relies on high-resolution data from the Sentinel-2 satellite to monitor plant growth. Both are applied at the plot scale in a watershed of 800 inline-formulakm2 that is characterized by irrigation withdrawals. Results show that including remote sensing data leads to more realistic modeled emergence dates for summer crops. However, both approaches have proven to be able to reproduce the evolution of daily irrigation withdrawals throughout the year. As a result, both approaches allowed us to simulate the downstream flow with a good daily accuracy, especially during low-flow periods.



Brochet, Elisabeth / Grusson, Youen / Sauvage, Sabine / et al: How to account for irrigation withdrawals in a watershed model. 2024. Copernicus Publications.


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Rechteinhaber: Elisabeth Brochet et al.

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