The University of Arizona
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences
What has been done?
AZMET expanded its low desert turf water management program to three northern Arizona cities in 2003. Weather stations were installed in Flagstaff, Prescott and Payson, and a new website was developed to disseminate information on landscape irrigation to residents of northern Arizona.
Crop Production: Perhaps the most important impact of AZMET in production agriculture has been its ability to provide reliable information on heat units which are used to 1) time planting and harvest dates of horticultural crops such as melons and sweet corn; 2) predict pest development; and 3) monitor general crop development. AZMET plays an integral role in the success of the Arizona Cotton Advisory Program by providing weekly updates on heat unit accumulation, crop water use, and current and projected weather condition; AZMET also provides daily updates on the potential for heat stress, which can significantly reduce fruit retention and yield of cotton. AZMET recently initiated a new weekly advisory program known as the Southeast Arizona Corn Report. This advisory program provides corn growers in Cochise and Graham Counties information on weather, water requirements and crop development.
Water Use/Irrigation Management: AZMET provides data on evapotranspiration (ET) which can be used to estimate the water use of vegetation. Working in conjunction with personnel affiliated with the Ft. Mohave Indian Reservation, AZMET ET information is now used to schedule irrigations on more than 20,000 acres of cotton and alfalfa in western Arizona. AZMET generates daily turf water use reports for the Phoenix area and distributes this information to the public via a turf water management web page, email and automated fax transfer system. Sixteen large turf facilities (with more than 10 acres in turf; mostly golf courses and parks) receive this information via email or fax daily. The turf web page was accessed in excess of 11,000 times in 2005. AZMET also generates a lawn watering guide which is published daily in major newspapers in the Phoenix metropolitan area.
AZMET provides reference evapotranspiration data to the Bureau of Reclamation for use in the Lower Colorado River Accounting System (LCRAS). LCRAS represents a new and improved means of assessing water use along this portion of the Colorado River.