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Application and Practices of Regional Green Water Estimation with Remote Sensing in Haihe River Basin

ZHANG Junxia 1 , ZHANG Hao 2 , FAN Guohui 1 1. Haihe River Basin Commission, Ministry of Water Resources, Tianjin, P.R.China, 300170 2. Hebei Research Institute of Investigation & Design of Water Conservancy & Hydropower, Ministry of Water Resources, Tianjin, P.R.China, 300250 zhangjx@hwcc. gov. cn

Abstract: Green water is the invisible vapor of precipitation into the atmosphere by evapotranspiration. It is of great significance to implement the water resources management with ET as the core for the reasonable utilization of regional water resources in water-shortage areas. This paper introduces the definition, composition of green water and the concept of green water management, and focuses on methods and practices of green water estimation in Haihe River Basin. Compared with traditional methods, they are advanced approach for the estimation of regional green water with remote sensing, which are technically feasible and accurate, enabling monitoring at a large scale. However, the ET monitoring by remote sensing is still a new technology, with the application of a variety of methods being quite limited. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the ET results from remote sensing monitoring to guarantee the deviation of ET quantitative monitoring in the range allowed. Keywords: green water, evapotranspiration, blue water, Global Environment Facility, Haihe River Basin, remote sensing monitoring

1 Introduction

Haihe River Basin is one of the areas that is faced with the most serious water issues in China, and "No river has water, no water is unpolluted" seems to be its portrayal. As a result of deficiency of water resources (the water resource per capita is only 272m 3 , which is only 1/8 of the national average), together with the long-term overexploitation (the existing exploitation rate achieves 106%), the cumulative loss of groundwater has reached tens of billions m 3 , most surface rivers have lost their normal functions, and over 90% wetlands have shrunk, which causes serious deterioration of the ecological environment. Faced with such a severe water problem, the Haihe River Basin still supports about 150 million people and contributes to 13% of GDP, leading to the development of the Haihe River Basin to a fringe difficult to sustain. In particular, in the most recent decades, under the influence of climate change and human activities, "blue water" flowing in the horizontal direction has been facing a sharp reduction, and evaporation in the vertical direction has been increasing [1] , which disturbs the original green water flow and water balance, resulting in arid and semiarid regions more vulnerable to the impact of water shortage. The average surface water and underground water resources in the Haihe River Basin, i.e. the total amount of "blue water" is 37 billion m 3 for many years, which accounts for only 22% of the generalized water resources, with the remaining 78% of the generalized water resources used directly as water for the agricultural production, environment and ecology or consumed in the ineffective evaporation. The water resources in the Haihe River Basin are in great deficiency. It is difficult to solve the problem of water resources only by emphasizing the management of 22% of the generalized water resources without the development and utilization of the remaining 78%. It is a fundamental approach to focus on the management of the generalized water resources in the Haihe River Basin, wherein the concept of green water is adopted to reduce ineffective and inefficient evapotranspiration (ET) [2] , which is of great significance to the sustainable use of water resources and environmental protection in the Haihe River Basin.

2 The Concept of Green Water Management

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2.1

Definition of "green water"

The definition of "Green water" was first put forward by Swedish scientists in a congress convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 1993, with its meaning and significance further expounded in 2005 by famous Swedish hydrologists Malin Falkenmark et al., who suggested the precipitation that infiltrates into the soil can be partitioned into "green water" and "blue water". Blue water is the visible liquid water flowing on the ground and underground, namely the surface runoff and underground runoff. Green water is the invisible vapor of precipitation into the atmosphere through evapotranspiration, which is equivalent to commonly used term "evapotranspiration (ET)". The green water flow includes two components: productive part and non-productive part. The productive green water, i.e. effective green water, is the moisture back into the atmosphere through evaporation of the plant surface (mainly the foliage), defined as vegetation transpiration, which has a direct impact on biomass. The non-productive green water, i.e. the ineffective green water, is defined as soil evaporation, which includes water surface evaporation, soil evaporation and interception evaporation [3] .

2.2 Generalized Water Resources and "Green Water"

Conventional water resources refer to the water flowing and existing on the surface and in the aquifers (surface water and underground water), that is, the "blue water", which is the focus of water conservancy projects, referred as "engineering water resources". The perception of generalized water resources is to make use of the increasingly updated precipitation, surface water and groundwater converted from precipitation and other water, including the direct and indirect use of natural water. The so-called "green water" is just part of the connotation of the generalized water resources. The incorporation of green water into the conventional water resources signifies the more complete and

substantial understanding of water resources [4] .

2.3 The Concept of Green Water Management

Green water management, i.e. "ET management", is water resources management methodology on the basis of water-consumption volume controlling, which is the certain tendency of reinforcing water management in water-shortage areas. The concept of ET management put forward by World Bank evolves from the concept of Actual Water Saving in , which is implemented from 2001 to 2005,named as World Bank Loan Project on Water Saving Irrigation. Water Saving in water resources management concept, with ET management as the core, aims at improving water resources consumption efficiency, not only attach importance to the water saving volume at the end of water recycling, but also divides the water consumption volume in each process of water recycling as productive consumption and non-productive consumption on the basis of taking part in productive process. And the productive consumption also is called effective consumption, which can be further divided into high-efficiency consumption and low-efficiency consumption. While non-productive consumption is usually called ineffective consumption. Only if the water resources consumption efficiency in the recycling process is clarified and reducing ineffective consumption volume and increasing effective consumption volume is set as the goal, the limited water resources utilization efficiency can be maximized in the basin on the basis of water recycling system, the net water resources shortage volume can be defined and the real water saving volume can be clarified. Therefore, it is of great significance to implement the water resources management with evapotranspiration as the core for the reasonable utilization of regional water resources in water-shortage areas [5] . In water-shortage areas, from the perspective of water balance, water-saving volume (or the real amount of water-saving) is equivalent to the sum of the reduction of the crop evapotranspiration (ET) and other non-renewable water losses. In the areas with excessive extraction of groundwater, the first thing to be considered is to reduce the non-renewable loss of water, meanwhile to reduce the crop evapotranspiration and improve water productivity. As for the use of water-saving volume, it is necessary to consider the needs of agricultural production as well as the ecological environment and groundwater protection. Therefore, the saved water can be partially used to expand the area of irrigation or to increase the frequency of irrigation, and partially used for the alleviation of the excessive extraction of groundwater or for ecological and environmental protection in order to gradually achieve sustainable use of water resources [6] .

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3 Application and Practices of Regional Green Water Estimation with Remote Sensing in Haihe River Basin

3.1 Introduction of the method of regional evapotranspiration with remote sensing

ET routine observation has a history of decades. However, as we all know, the evaporation data from agriculture or hydrometeorological stations have been quite limited in temporal-spatial representativeness. With the rapid development of satellite remote sensing technology and quantitative inversion, satellite remote sensing monitoring ET has become a viable operational method over the past decade. In Global Environment Facility (GEF) Haihe River Basin Integrated Water and Environment Management Project (hereinafter referred to as GEF-H-Project) being implemented, it is proposed to conduct water resources management with remote sensing monitoring ET just in accordance with the needs for water management in the Haihe River Basin and the latest developments in remote sensing technology. The core of GEF-H-Project is to demonstrate and develop a water management method, namely, monitoring and management of ET, thereby

achieving real water-saving by reduction of ineffective or inefficient ET, and enabling the whole basin to gradually return to a more reasonable water balance and good ecological environment in the context of sustainable development in 10-20 years.

Reliable quantitative monitoring of ET is the prerequisite of water management with ET. In the past 15 years,

a wide range of remote sensing methods for monitoring ET have been developed by the use of satellite data such as LANDSAT TM, NOAA AVHRR and EOS MODIS, combined with land utilization of the land

surface and conventional meteorological data, among which the near-surface energy balance-based algorithm

is the most widely used [7] . SEBAL model and its improved version METRIC model and SEBS model have

been successfully used for monitoring of regional evapotranspiration or drought; meanwhile methods for global-scale estimates of evaporation ratio and actual evapotranspiration have also been developed. Although remote sensing ET model is gaining more and more applications, there are still a number of problems including how to obtain data consistent in space and continuous in time. Mismatched spatial scale and lack of direct observational data make it very difficult to verify the remote sensing ET results. During the implementation of GEF-H-Project, Wu Bingfang et al. from Institute of Remote Sensing Applications, Chinese Academy of Sciences, developed an operationalized remote sensing monitoring system for evapotranspiration (ETWatch) [8] . ETWatch has established a operational data processing chain for regional evapotranspiration monitoring by adopting visible light/thermal-infrared remote sensing data of multiple-temporal photograph and the routine meteorological data and integrated SEBS, SEBAL and Penman-Monteith models. For moderate-resolution remote sensing data, ETWatch adopts SEBS model. For high resolution remote sensing data, it adopts SEBAL model. The two models have been improved according to characteristics of Haihe River Basin and the parameters of the models have been optimized by limited ground observation data. Penman-Monteith model is used for integrating daily meteorological data with remote sensing data to get temporal-continuous evapotranspiration output [9] . At present, ET monitoring in the Haihe River Basin for year 2002 to 2008 has been accomplished by use of the system with satisfactory results.

3.2 Validation of ET Data from remote sensing monitoring

Haihe River Basin is a subhumid, semiarid region, in which the mountainous area accounts for 60% of its total area, the underlying surface are quite complex in the plain area, the urban area occupies a large proportion of the plain area (there are 25 large and medium-sized cities), and there exist more green houses in the farmland, which brings a lot of difficulties to the use of remote sensing data and model inversion ET technology. Therefore, the accuracy of ET data from remote sensing monitoring has become a widespread concern and also a constraint for the full implementation of ET management in the Haihe River Basin. ET varies greatly in time and space. This method, with the use of remote sensing data and model inversion ET technology as the fundamental principle, shows great advantage in resolving the spatial distribution of ET, while its accuracy in terms of time distribution is not high, because only instantaneous ET is obtained from remote sensing when a satellite transits, and the ET during other time can only rely on extrapolation. High-resolution satellites have fewer transits, and in subhumid areas, when a satellite transits, it is often rainy, resulting in fewer measured ET values that can be used for extrapolation. The ET measured on the ground can

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make up for this shortcoming. The spatial distribution of ET can not be obtained from small-scale ET measured in the ground validation sites, but continuous real-time monitoring can be achieved. The integration of the ET data from remote sensing with those from ground validation sites can increase the temporal resolution of the remote sensing ET. At present, several ground observation sites with large aperture scintillometer (LAS), have been set up in the Haihe River Basin, and the technical department undertaking the validation of remote sensing ET model also collected data widely from quite a few ground validation sites located in Haihe River Basin and set up by such research organizations as Chinese Academy of Sciences and China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research. These data can support the improvement in accuracy of ET data from remote sensing monitoring.

3.3 Remote Sensing Monitoring ET integrated with Distributive Hydrological Model The basic principle for use of remote sensing data and model inversion ET technology lies in the energy balance, but a regional ET not only meets the principle of energy balance, but also complies with the basic rule of water balance. ET is the junction point of energy balance and water balance [10] . The distributed hydrological simulation technology developed recently can overcome the shortcoming that the water cycle process is not in direction consideration in remote sensing inversion evapotranspiration, and integrated with remote sensing inversion, it can play a positive role in improving the measurement accuracy of evapotranspiration under complex underlying surface conditions [3] . In GEF-H-Project, to improve the accuracy of ET, the remote sensing ET model is integrated with the distributed hydrological model, in which SWAT model commonly adopted worldwide and the binary model (DWEMM) independently developed by China Institute of Water Resources and Hydropower Research are used [10] .

4 Conclusion

This paper introduces the definition, composition of green water and the concept of green water management, and focuses on methods and practices of green water estimation in Haihe River Basin. Compared with traditional methods, they are advanced approach for the estimation of regional green water with remote sensing, which are technically feasible and accurate, enabling monitoring at a large scale. However, the ET monitoring by remote sensing is still a new technology, with the application of a variety of methods being quite limited. Therefore, it is essential to analyze the ET results from remote sensing monitoring to guarantee the deviation of ET quantitative monitoring in the range allowed.

Corresponding author: Zhang Junxia, female, engineer of Haihe River Basin Commission, master of Hohai University, Email: zhangjx@hwcc.gov.cn. Contents in this paper are supported by Global Environment Facility (GEF) Haihe River Basin Integrated Water and Environment Management Project,

NO.TF053183.

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