Generally, agriculture and irrigation in particular consume over 80% of the world’s freshwater. Any attempt to improve water use efficiency in irrigated agriculture must be based on reliable estimates of seasonal/total evapotranspiration (ET), which has a major impact on water balance of plants.
Soil moisture provides conditions for evapotranspiration. If the soil is too dry, plants may easily be stressed due to the lack of available water. If we know the current precise evapotranspiration rate we will be able to help our customers to estimate the current water demands of the crop and arrive at a decision on whether to irrigate or not. The continuous monitoring of both the current status of crop health and evapotranspiration therefore forms the basis for optimizing irrigation and water management, and thus groundwater recharge.
In the adjacent illustration, we can observe that the vital biomass (VB) is higher but the actual evapotranspiration (AET) is lower, resulting in higher water productivity in January. This means less crop production costs in terms of water. On the other hand, higher VB and higher AET values result in lower water productivity in October and therefore higher crop production costs in terms of water. These results enable us to derive an optimization function of water consumption and crop productivity, resulting in more efficient crop and water management.