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SOWAMED WORKSHOP Michel Le Page, June 2008, Amman (Jordania)

This lecture is mainly based on Benoit Duchemin IRRIMED 1st Training Workshop Evapotranspiration and Crop Water Requirements, 8-12 February 2004, Palmyria (Syria)

1. Reminder of the FAO water budget

Remind : FAO simplified water balance equation

DE[d+1] = DE[d] + ET - R - I + DP
DE ("Depletion") = soil water dficit = amount of water lost regarding the Total Available Water (TAW) that the soil contains for evapotranspiration.
ET evapo Transpiration Rain R

Irrigat I

Deep Percolation DP

D = 0 when there is no water left

0 < 0 < TAW D D TAW

D = TAW after large water supply D = TAW - CAW [ mm ] CAW = Current Available Water

Remind : FAO simplified water balance equation

Effective Rainfall : Amount of water that reach the soil during a rain event. -> if R < 0.2 ET0 mm are supposed to be evaporated because of interception by vegetation (important in arid area !!!)
Evapo Transpiration

Effective rain R

Irrigat RunOff RO

RunOff : believed null (generally low slopes & occur when D=0) or equal to a fraction of rainfall in case of high slopes.

Deep Percolation DP

Deep Percolation : believed null except in case of important water supply. Once the soil fullfilled, DP = additional rain or irrigation (no delay) The capillary rises are neglected. This assumption is reasonable if the water table is deep enough (1 meter from the effective rooting zone ?)

Soil = water for evapotranspiration

Readily Available Water (RAW) Total Available Water (TAW) TAW = 1000 ( FC - WP ) . Zr (mm) RAW = p x TAW (mm)

- Zr is the Root Depth - p is the Depletion Fraction (percentage of water easily transpirable)

Soil = water for evapotranspiration

Irrigation Monitoring (Standard Condition)

Standard condition ( ETC ) for a specific crop = reference condition for the grasses

(well-watered, no disease, completely shading the ground)

When to irrigate (*) Before depletion reaches RAW = p . TAW (one neccessary to be a crop in Standard Condition + disease-free + no N stress + infinite extent ) How much water ? Depletion losses by evapotranspiration
(*) There is other possible answers, according to the level water stress (and loss of production) that we accept of

2. Single Crop Coefficient

FAO method : Dual Step/Single Coefficient (1)

FAO-24 (1973, 1977) & FAO-56 (1998) 1 Cultural Coef. (Kc) such as ETC = Kc. ET0 2 calculation Steps ET0 ETC



( Reference = Well - Watered Grass ) ( Standard Condition for Other Crops )

The cultural coefficient group the difference between grass and other crops in terms of evapotranspiration

FAO method : Dual Step/Single Coefficient (2)

Basic Equation : ETC = Kc. ET0 for well-watered grass : Kc = 1. (ETC = ET0) for other crops, Kc account for all the differences with ET of well-watered grass as expressed in the PM equation

(Rn G ) +

c p

E =

ra rs + 1 + r a

(esat (Ta ) ea )

what is changing in PM ( Rn, ra, rs, fraction cover ) ?

Crop coefficient will change because of differences in: TRANSPIRATION (ra, rs) : Crop phenological status Crop Type EVAPORATION Fraction cover Soil Type These differences depend of climate !!!

Kc = fn(Phenological stages)


Init. Growth

Maturity Senescence

Crop calendar is described with - 4 phases (Initial, Growth, Maturity, Senescence) linked to - 3 key Crop Coefficients : . KcINI --> KcMID --> KcEND .

Kc = fn(Phenological stages)
For annual plant, crop calendar in 4 phases :


Initial Stage. From sowing to vegetation fraction cover of 10%. Kc = KcINI : constant, generally low, but highly variable with rain and irrigation frequency (evaporat dominates !). Growth (or development stage). Until effective cover (flowering, LAI 3 ?). KcINI < Kc < KcMID : evaporat/transpirat partitioning Maturity (or mid-stage). Until start of leave yellowing (?). Kc = KcMID (maximum and constant, generally > 1) Senescence (or late-stage). Until total yellowing or yield. KcMID < Kc < KcEND : evaporat/transpirat partitioning (and date of yield !!!)

Phenological stages duration (1)

Forage crop (alfalfa)

Phenological stages duration (2)

FAO Irrigation & Drainage Paper No. 24 provides general lengths for the four stages & the total growing period for various types of climates & locations. This information has been supplemented from other sources and is summarized in Table 11.

In Crop evapotranspiration - Guidelines for computing crop water requirements by Allen R.G., Pereira L.S., Raes D. and Smith M. as FAO I&D Paper No. 56 (1998).

Kc = fn(Crop Type)
2 physical processes :


1) Aerodynamical (height, roughness, structure) Transfer of water is facilitated with more roughness => Kc > 1 by a factor 5 20 %, 2) Physiological (nature) Because the density and the functioning of stomata differs from one specie to another => Dominant group type annual ~ grass specific species (citrus, ananas) It also depends on cultural practices

Kc = fn(Crop type)


TABLE 12. Single (time-averaged) crop coefficients, Kc, and mean maximum plant heights for non stressed, well-managed crops in subhumid climates (RHmin 45%, u2 2 m/s) for use with the FAO Penman-Monteith ETo.

In Crop evapotranspiration - Guidelines for computing crop water requirements by Allen R.G., Pereira L.S., Raes D. and Smith M. as FAO I&D Paper No. 56 (1998).

Kc_mid & Kc_end variation

Difference in evaporation => Kc_INI variation

Kc ini related to the level of ETo and the interval between irrigations and/or significant rain

coarse textured soils

KcMID & KcEND = fn(Climate) !

When the cover is full-developped, aerodynamical differences will be more or less large depending on climatic condition, but coefficients reported in FAO table correspond to a particular climate (RHmin 45%, u2 2 m/s). For other climatic conditions, Kc are different

Humide Vent Faible

Sec Vent Fort Kc at mid-season (KcMID)

Correction formula

In summary

Calculation steps for FAO Single Coefficient

6 steps : 1. Calculation of reference evapotranspiration ( ETo ) 2. Determination of crop calendar 3. Selection of crop coefficients for the 3 key-stages of crop calendar : KcINI , KcMID, KcEND 4. Calculation of climatic condition during maturity and senescence stages. Correction of KcMID, KcEND 5. Numerical determination of crop coefficients curve 6. Estimation of ETc as ETo x Kc

3. Dual Crop Coefficient

Need for a more complex approach FAO dual coefficient method

Method FAO Dual Crop Coefficient

FAO-56 (1998) : crop coefficient is explained as the sum of two coefficients that are believed to account for soil evaporation and plant transpiration
ETC = ( Kcb + Ke ) ET0 Transpiration Evaporation

(Dual Step : ET0 then ETC)

Basal Crop Coefficient Assumption = no evaporation (dry soil top layer ) Plant is in standard condition (humid deep soil layer) . Advantage = constrained value

Soil top layer water balance

DEJ = DEJ-1 - RJ - IJ / fw + ETsolJ / few + RPJ fw = Wetted Fraction --> Irrigation System few = Exposed and Wetted Fraction --> Evaporation


(root Zone Percolation term)

Evaporation phases

phase 2

Soil capacity to diffuse water ET0 Soil evaporation phase 1


ETsol = Ke ET0 ?

Evaporation Coefficient (Ke)

Phase 1 : evapotranspiration is limited (by available energy), Kcb + Ke cannot be large than one value ( Kcmax ) ( Ke Kcmax Kcb )

Phase 2 : evaporation is limited by water availability in the soil top layer Kr : Ke = Kr . (Kcmax- Kcb) + Evaporation comes from the wetted and exposed fraction of soil : Ke few . Kcmax

Ke = min ( Kr . (Kcmax- Kcb) , few . Kcmax ) Kr = 1 during phase 1

Evaporation Coefficient Ke (2)

Sol = Readily & Total Evaporable Water = REW & TEW


Ze = top soil layer ( 10 - 15 cm )

Evaporation Coefficient Ke (3)

DEJ = DEJ-1 - RJ - IJ / fw + ETsolJ / few + DPJ
Three steps :
1. Kcmax -> 2. Kr -> 3. Fw & Fc

Phase 1 ( DEJ REW ) Kr =1 Phase 2 ( DEJ REW ) Kr = ( TEW - DEj ) / (TEW -REW)

Ke = min ( Kr . (Kcmax- Kcb) , few . Kcmax )

Heavy Rain, depletion is empty, and Kr=1 Initial values from FAO tables and formulas

At stage 2 (De>REW), Kr begins to drop

Wetted soil fraction

fw still constant between water supply event

Exposed and de Sol Expos Fraction wetted soil fraction

Comparison of single and approaches

More accurate estimation of ET but the calculation and the formulation is much more complex (and not so clear)

4. Water Stress condition

Water-stressed Condition
similar approach than for evaporation reduction factor need to consider two buckets (top & root soil layer)

Water-stressed Condition

Mono-Coefficient : ETc_adj = Ks. Kc ET0 Dual-Coefficient : ETc_adj = ( Kcb.Ks + Ke ) ET0 ( Pb de la gestion de deux rservoirs )

Many processes are no taken into account (Interception, RunOff, transfer between different soil layer) BUT IT IS OPERATIONAL

FAO Method : Example of benefits

Olive trees (Agdal site)

Total water use 800mm

1.4 1.2 1 Ks 0.8 0.6

Applied Irrigations

100 Irrigation (mm) 80 60 40 20 0 Mar-03

Total use 630mm

FAO Irrigations

0.4 0.2 0


Jun-03 Date


2nd MEDA Water Regional Event on Local Water Management Marrakech 28-30 April 2008

Crop evapotranspiration - Guidelines for computing crop water requirements FAO Irrigation and drainage paper 56
Richard G. Allen Luis S. Pereira Dirk Raes Martin Smith .htm