The Bureau of Reclamation is currently developing an Evapotranspiration (ET) Toolbox that builds on the AWARDS system, adding GIS land use to specify acreage, crop and riparian use, and open water evaporation estimates for nominal 4-km grid cells. The primary purpose of the ET Toolbox is to accumulate the grid cells' daily rainfall and water use estimates within specified river reaches. These estimates are imported into RiverWare, which is the river modeling and water accounting system used by the Upper Rio Grande Water Operations Model.
System enhancements are being made in near real time to provide specialized support. One recent enhancement is the implementation of using National Centers for Environmental Prediction Eta Model weather forecast parameters at 20-km grid resolution to improve the ET Toolbox's 24-hr and 48-hr ET forecasts. These forecasts appear to be in good agreement with daily ET computed from weather station data.
Rio Grande water managers used the ET Toolbox Web site several times a day during the severe 2000 drought to direct critical water releases for the threatened Silvery Minnow and to meet other irrigation demands. They found that the ET Toolbox information is "invaluable" for their decision making.
Supplementary URL: http://www.usbr.gov/rsmg/nexrad