Increased demand for water in the Lake Altus drainage basin requires more accurate estimates of water use for irrigation. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, is investigating new techniques to improve water-use estimates for irrigation purposes in the Lake Altus drainage basin. Empirical estimates of reference evapotranspiration, crop evapotranspiration, and crop irrigation water requirements for nine major crops were calculated from September 1999 to October 2000 using a solar radiation-based evapotranspiration model. Estimates of irrigation water use were calculated using remotely sensed irrigated crop acres derived from Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus imagery and were compared with irrigation water-use estimates calculated from irrigated crop acres reported by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and the Texas Water Development Board for the 2000 growing season. The techniques presented will help manage water resources in the Lake Altus drainage basin and may be transferable to other areas with similar water management needs.
Irrigation water use calculated from the remotely sensed irrigated acres was estimated at 154,920 acre-feet; whereas, irrigation water use calculated from state reported irrigated crop acres was 196,026 acre-feet, a 23 percent difference. The greatest difference in irrigation water use was in Carson County, Texas. Irrigation water use for Carson County, Texas, calculated from the remotely sensed irrigated acres was 58,555 acrefeet; whereas, irrigation water use calculated from state reported irrigated acres was 138,180 acre-feet, an 81 percent difference. The second greatest difference in irrigation water use occurred in Beckham County, Oklahoma. Differences between the two irrigation water use estimates are due to the differences of irrigated crop acres derived from the mapping process and those reported by the Oklahoma Water Resources Board and Texas Water Development Board.