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Long-term water balances in La Violada irrigation district (Spain): I. Sequential assessment and minimization of closing errors

AuthorsBarros, Rocío; Isidoro, Daniel; Aragüés Lafarga, Ramón CSIC
KeywordsCanal seepage
Closing error
soil–aquifer balance
water balance analysis
Issue DateDec-2011
CitationBarros R, Isidoro D, Aragüés R. Long-term water balances in La Violada irrigation district (Spain): I. Sequential assessment and minimization of closing errors. Agricultural Water Management 102 (1): 35-45 (2011)
AbstractLong-term analysis of hydrologic series in irrigated areas allows identifying the main water balance components, minimizing closing errors and assessing changes in the hydrologic regime. The main water inputs [irrigation (I) and precipitation (P)] and outputs [outflow (Q) and potential (ETc) crop evapotranspiration] in the 4000-ha La Violada irrigation district (VID) (Ebro River Basin, Spain) were measured or estimated from 1995 to 2008. A first-step, simplified water balance assuming steady state conditions (with error ɛ = I + P − Q − ETc) showed that inputs were much lower than outputs in all years (average ɛ = −577 mm yr−1 or −33% closing error). A second-step, improved water balance with the inclusion of other inputs (municipal waste waters, canal releases and lateral surface runoff) and the estimation of crop's actual evapotranspiration (ETa) through a daily soil water balance reduced the average closing error to −13%. Since errors were always higher during the irrigated periods, when canals are full of water, a third-step, final water balance considered canal seepage (CS) as an additional input. The change in water storage in the system (ΔW) was also included in this step. CS and ΔW were estimated through a monthly soil–aquifer water balance, showing that CS was a significant component in VID. With the inclusion of CS and ΔW in the water balance equation, the 1998–2008 annual closing errors were within ±10% of total water outputs. This long-term, sequential water balance analysis in VID was an appropriate approach to accurately identify and quantify the most important water balance components while minimizing water balance closing errors.
Description44 Pag., 5 Figs., 3 Tabl. The definitive version is available at:
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