Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title






First page number:


Last page number:



Southern California’s Imperial Valley (IV) faces serious water management concerns due to its semi-arid environment, water-intensive crops and limited water supply. Accurate and reliable irrigation system performance and water productivity information is required in order to assess and improve the current water management strategies. This study evaluates the spatially distributed irrigation equity, adequacy and crop water productivity (CWP) for two water-intensive crops, alfalfa and sugar beet, using remotely sensed data and a geographical information system for the 2018/2019 crop growing season. The actual crop evapotranspiration (ETa) was mapped in Google Earth Engine Evapotranspiration Flux, using the linear interpolation method in R version 4.0.2. The approx() function in the base R was used to produce daily ETa maps, and then totaled to compute the ETa for the whole season. The equity and adequacy were determined according to the ETa’s coefficient of variation (CV) and relative evapotranspiration (RET), respectively. The crop classification was performed using a machine learning approach (a random forest algorithm). The CWP was computed as a ratio of the crop yield to the crop water use, employing yield disaggregation to map the crop yield, using county-level production statistics data and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) images. The relative errors (RE) of the ETa compared to the reported literature values were 7–27% for alfalfa and 0–3% for sugar beet. The average ETa variation was low; however, the spatial variation within the fields showed that 35% had a variability greater than 10%. The RET was high, indicating adequate irrigation; 31.5% of the alfalfa and 12% of the sugar beet fields clustered in the Valley’s central corner were consuming more water than their potential visibly. The CWP showed wide variation, with CVs of 32.92% for alfalfa and 25.4% for sugar beet, signifying a substantial scope for CWP enhancement. The correlation between the CWP, ETa and yield showed that reducing the ETa to approximately 1500 mm for alfalfa and 1200 mm for sugar beet would help boost the CWP without decreasing the yield, which is nearly equivalent to 44.52M cu. m (36,000 acre-ft) of water. The study’s results could help water managers to identify poorly performing fields where water conservation and management could be focused.


EEFlux; Irrigation performance; CWP; Water conservation; NDVI


Sustainability | Water Resource Management

File Format


File Size

8498 KB




IN COPYRIGHT. For more information about this rights statement, please visit

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

UNLV article access

Search your library