University of Oulu

Mahdi Akbari & Ali Torabi Haghighi (2022) Satellite-based agricultural water consumption assessment in the ungauged and transboundary Helmand Basin between Iran and Afghanistan, Remote Sensing Letters, 13:12, 1236-1248, DOI: 10.1080/2150704X.2022.2142074

Satellite-based agricultural water consumption assessment in the ungauged and transboundary Helmand Basin between Iran and Afghanistan

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Author: Akbari, Mahdi1; Torabi Haghighi, Ali1
Organizations: 1Water, Energy, and Environmental Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Informa, 2022
Publish Date: 2023-01-19


Hamun Lake, the greatest (>8500 km²) freshwater in the Iran plateau, has almost entirely dried over the last 20 years. The flow of the Hirmand (or Helmand) River, the most important feeding river, has decreased from 4.0 to 1.9 km³ in the border of Iran-Afghanistan. In this river basin, the annual water consumption for irrigation is over 90% of the total consumed water. This study aims to calculate the increase in agricultural water consumption in the last two decades. Due to the lack of in-situ data across Afghanistan (including ∼80% of the studied area), this research utilizes remote-sensing. Using Google Earth Engine, land use maps for the years 2002, 2008, 2013, 2017, and 2021 were developed by a supervised classification scheme. Since 2002, it was found that the cropland area has increased from 2008 to 5475 km². Most cropland has been developed around the Kajaki dam. Based on the Penman-Monteith-Leuning Evapotranspiration version 2 (PML V2) actual evapotranspiration (AET) data (our model assumes the irrigation efficiency equal to 0.3), the annual consumed water has increased from 2 to over 6 km³ in the last two decades. The presented framework in this study can be recommended for other ungauged basins.

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Series: Remote sensing letters
ISSN: 2150-704X
ISSN-E: 2150-7058
ISSN-L: 2150-704X
Volume: 13
Issue: 12
Pages: 1236 - 1248
DOI: 10.1080/2150704x.2022.2142074
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 1171 Geosciences
1172 Environmental sciences
218 Environmental engineering
Funding: This research was supported by the Maa- ja vesitekniikan tuki r.y. (MVTT) with project number 41878.
Copyright information: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way.