Water Resources Management

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 795–814 | Cite as

Methodology for Quantifying Groundwater Abstractions for Agriculture via Remote Sensing and GIS

  • Santiago Castaño
  • David SanzEmail author
  • Juan J. Gómez-Alday


Among the difficulties and uncertainties that arise when determining water balance is the calculation of groundwater abstraction. This factor is particularly important in aquifers whose extension and heavy agricultural use make direct quantification methods unfeasible (i.e. flow meters and power consumption data). This study presents a method of quantifying groundwater abstractions for irrigation based on the analysis of multitemporal and multispectral satellite images. The process begins with a highly detailed classification of irrigated crops; these data are entered in a Geographic Information System, overlain with a correct estimate of the irrigation requirements of the crop, and corrected in accordance with the agricultural practices of the area. The results reveal the spatial and temporal distribution of the groundwater volume abstracted and used for agriculture. This methodology has been applied in the Mancha Oriental Hydrogeological System (Spain, 7,260 km2), where abstractions for agriculture comprise more than 90% of the hydrological resources consumed. In this context, accuracies of over 95% have been obtained with a cost sixty times lower than that of traditional methods.


Remote sensing GIS Hydrogeology Groundwater abstractions 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Santiago Castaño
    • 1
  • David Sanz
    • 1
    Email author
  • Juan J. Gómez-Alday
    • 1
  1. 1.Remote Sensing and GIS Group, Institute for Regional Development (IRD)University of Castilla-La Mancha (UCLM)AlbaceteSpain

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