Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Characterization of water use and water balance for the croplands of Kansas using satellite, climate, and irrigation data

August 13, 2021

Kansas is one of the most productive agricultural states in the United States, where agricultural irrigation is a primary user of underground and surface water. Because of low precipitation and declining groundwater levels in western and central Kansas, sustainable management of irrigation water resources is a critical issue in the agricultural productivity of the state. The objective of this study is to analyze and characterize the water use and water balance in the croplands of Kansas using satellite observations, meteorological data, and in situ irrigation water use records. We used actual evapotranspiration (ETa), precipitation, soil moisture, and irrigation water use to calculate water balance for Kansas in 2015 at scales of counties, climatic divisions, and groundwater management districts (GMD). The Operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance model was implemented to estimate 30-m resolution ETa. Results showed that the seasonal (May – September) precipitation, soil water storage change, and ETa are 528 mm, 80 mm, and 555 mm, respectively, on average of all croplands in the state. The annual net irrigation water consumption was 293 mm for irrigated croplands, indicating that irrigation water constitutes an substantial portion of the water supply in the state. The total volumetric irrigation water use was 3.24 km3 for all croplands within five GMDs in western and south-central Kansas, while only 0.38 km3 was outside of GMDs. The multiple regression models of ETa against precipitation and irrigation water use were statistically significant with R2 values of 0.71 and 0.87, respectively, at county and climate division scales. Regression models also indicated a higher rate of ETa response to irrigation water use than that to precipitation. Our study demonstrated the spatial patterns of crop water use and water balance in Kansas, which could provide useful information for management of irrigation agriculture and water resources for the state.

Publication Year 2021
Title Characterization of water use and water balance for the croplands of Kansas using satellite, climate, and irrigation data
DOI 10.1016/j.agwat.2021.107106
Authors Lei Ji, Gabriel B. Senay, Mackenzie Friedrichs, Matthew Schauer, Olena Boiko
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Agricultural Water Management
Index ID 70227641
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center