A GIS Approach for Studying Irrigation Management Alternatives to Reduce Salt Loading of River Basins

by Lance E. Houser, Utah State Univ, Logan, United States,
A. Bruce Bishop, Utah State Univ, Logan, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Management of Irrigation and Drainage Systems: Integrated Perspectives


As part of an ongoing effort to improve the water quality of the Colorado River, many methods have been employed to analyze the overall benefits of alternate irrigation management practices in the Colorado River Basin. Several researchers have estimated that about 37% of the salt in the Colorado River comes from irrigated land. One of the greatest difficulties in modeling salt loading is the lack of data concerning spatial relationships of these lands. This study incorporates the advantages of a Geographical Information System (GIS), and multispectral videography (MSV), with standard topographical and soil survey data to identify areas of high salinity contribution, and to model the effect of management practices. MSV images taken in the green, red, and near infrared wave bands were processed and imported into a GIS. By classifying reflectances from the MSV, the GIS maps of different features were created, including areas of high soil salinity, irrigation management practices, land use, crop pattern, and water delivery systems. Data are extracted from the GIS maps to allow modeling of water and salt balance for the Duchesne River in Utah.

Subject Headings: Geographic information systems | Salt water | Irrigation | Rivers and streams | Basins | Water pollution | Management methods | Load factors | Colorado River | Utah | United States

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