Estimating soil moisture under low frequency surface irrigation using crop water stress index

Paul D. Colaizzi, Edward M. Barnes, Thomas R. Clarke, Christopher Y. Choi, Peter M. Waller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


The present study investigated the relationship between the crop water stress index (CWSI) and soil moisture for surface irrigated cotton (Gossypium hirsutum, Delta Pine 90b) at Maricopa, Arizona during the 1998 season. The CWSI was linked to soil moisture through the water stress coefficient Ks that accounts for reduced crop evapotranspiration when there is a shortage of soil water. A stress recovery coefficient Krec was introduced to account for reduced crop evapotranspiration as the crop recovered from water stress after irrigation events. A soil water stress index (SWSI) was derived in terms of Ks and Krec. The SWSI compared reasonably well to the CWSI, but atmospheric stability correction for the CWSI did not improve comparisons. When the CWSI was substituted into the SWSI formulation, it gave good prediction of soil moisture depletion (fDEP; when to irrigate) and depth of root zone depletion (Dr; how much to irrigate). Disagreement was greatest for fDEP<0.6 because cotton is less sensitive to water stress in this range.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)27-35
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Irrigation and Drainage Engineering
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Soil moisture
  • Surface irrigation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


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