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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping > Landscaping Irrigation Strategies for Conserving Water Supplies and Quality

Water Budgeting for Irrigation Sustainability

The California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) provides data and tools for irrigation and water budgeting by companies and communities

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Optmize Landscaping Operations

Greenscaping is optmizing landscaping operations, selecting the best species for the location, and carefully managing water use. Water budgeting in an important environmental and cost-saving part of landscape operations.

Water Budgeting

Water budgeting solutions incorporate a balance between the inputs and outputs of water to and from the plant root zone in a landscape.

Water budgeting inputs include precipitation, irrigation, dew, and capillary rise from ground water.

The outputs include evapotranspiration, runoff, and deep percolation.

Evapotranspiration is the loss of water to the atmosphere by the combined processes of evaporation and transpiration. Transpiration is water transfer to the air through plant tissues.

California Irrigation Management Information System

The California Irrigation Management Information System is a program of the Office of Water Use Efficiency (OWUE), California Department of Water Resources (DWR) that manages a network of over 120 automated weather stations in the state of California. CIMIS weather stations collect weather data on a minute-by-minute basis, calculate hourly and daily values and store them in the dataloggers. A computer at the DWR headquarters in Sacramento calls every station starting at midnight Pacific Standard Time (PST) and retrieves each day's data. The central computer analyzes it for quality, calculates reference evapotranspiration (ETo - for grass reference and ETr - for alfalfa) and other intermediate parameters, flags the data ( if necessary), and stores them in the CIMIS database.

Weather Data Retrieval for Irrigation Applications

Estimated parameters (such as ETo, net radiation (Rn), dew point temperature, etc.) and measured parameters (such as solar radiation (Rs), air temperature (T), relative humidity (RH), wind speed (u), etc.) are stored in the CIMIS database for unlimited free access by registered CIMIS data users.

Some of the applications of CIMIS data include:

  • Farm commodity purchasers for predicting product quality
  • Pesticide applicators for weather prediction and documentation
  • Waste water facilities planning and management
  • Local and state water planners and managers
  • Legal and Insurance Firms for documentation and litigation
  • High schools for educational purposes
  • Homeowner associations for water conservation
  • Air quality monitoring assistance
  • Federal Agencies for resource management and studies
  • Users from other countries for planning and development of similar networks
  • California State Department’s providing public assistance and water use planning
  • Automated Severe Weather Warning Systems
  • Solar and wind power design
  • Hydrological modeling for water availability and groundwater recharge
  • University of California Integrated Pest Management Project for degree-day calculations and pest and plant modeling
  • Urban landscape planning and managing

Contact Regional Irrigation and Water Management CIMIS Staff

Contact information for CIMIS staff at the Sacramento headquarters and the DWR districts are provided in the CIMIS Staff link on the Home Page. Questions regarding the selection of a CIMIS station, installation of new station, missing data, and/or information on how to use the data can be directed to the CIMIS staff in your DWR district.

Water and Irrigation Resource Center

The Resources Center provides information on issues related to efficient uses of water. The information is provided in the form of technical references, web site links, and publications. Also available under the Resource Center are the hourly and daily FTP data that can be downloaded using any browser. Resource Center of Tools and Info
Department of Water Resources
Office of Water Use Efficiency

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