Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

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  • The North Unit irrigation District of Central Oregon, a water project developed under the guidelines of the Bureau of Reclamation, is characterized by limited water and the need for efficient utilization and control of the irrigation system. To manage the limited water resource, irrigators need a timely and economical method of detecting problems associated with parameters of the irrigation water management system. The primary objective of this research was to determine the practicality of utilizing thermal infrared imagery and color infrared photography for assessing irrigation water management problems. Within this objective the key tasks were to: examine the relationship between the physical and cultural components that play an integral role in irrigation water management; determine the applications of remote sensing for detecting non-uniformity of water distribution over selected fields during three stages of crop growth; determine the applications of remote sensing for detecting crop response in relation to a diversity of field conditions; determine the application of remote sensing for analyzing conveyance system leakage sites; and examine possible techniques for maintaining proper irrigation water management. A field survey of the area covered by the overflights was used to map patterns of fields and irrigation methods. Additionally, maps showing soil series and percent slope were produced of the overflight coverage area. The survey and maps provided a valuable reference during interpretation of the imagery and photography to determine relationships between soils, topography, crop type, size and shape of fields, and irrigation methods employed. Information on cropping history, soil amendments, and irrigation scheduling strategies were obtained from case study farmers. Ground-based measurements were made in conjunction with overflights to determine field characteristics. This involved precise notation of weather conditions, soil parameters and crop characteristics of case study sites. The thermal infrared imagery (flown May 21, May 24, July 7, and September 7, 1979) and color infrared photography (flown May 12, July 9, and September 7, 1979) were analyzed with the aid of a stereomicroscope, film viewing light table, and digital image processor. Data gathered through farm interviews, ground-based measurements, and imagery and aerial photographic interpretation were statistically treated using the Statistical Package for the Social Sciences program at Oregon State University. The results of this research demonstrate the practicality of using thermal infrared imagery and color infrared photography for detecting problems associated with the irrigation water management system. The thermal infrared imagery was useful for detecting canal leakage, non-uniformity of water distribution at all stages of crop growth, and apparent crop canopy temperatures as an indicator of crop stress. The color infrared photography was useful for detecting crop stress resulting from a variety of field conditions. Field conditions detected on the photography and affecting crop health included physical parameters of the land resource base (soils, topography, and climate), the influence of irrigators through tillage practices, the affect of irrigation water applications, and the influence of applications of herbicides, pesticides, and fertilizers. Additionally, color infrared photography was used to determine the extent of unexpected system problems (e.g. flooding caused by a lateral canal plugging).
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