THE WATER BALANCE:
The relationship between precipitation, evapotranspiration and storage (in the form of soil moisture and groundwater) can be expressed as the water balance equation: Precipitation (P) = streamflow (Q) + evapotranspiration (E) + change in storage (S) * (Balance between inputs (precipitation) and outputs (streamflow/runoff,evapotranspiration and storage)
Uses/importance:1.It is used by Hydrologists to plan and manage water supply within adrainage basin, for example; when there is water shortages hosepipe bansare implemented to preserve stocks.2.For irrigation, pollution control and control flooding.A water budget graph is a useful way to look at the water balance of a locationover a year. Precipitation and evapotranspiration rates are plotted on to a singlegraph.Important terms:WATER BUDGET GRAPH (Soil moisture budget graph):
1. Actual evapotranspiration (AET): the loss of moisture to the atmosphere by theprocesses of evapotration and transpiration which actually takes place.2. Potential evapotranspiration (PET): the maximum amount of evapotranspirationwhich occur if an adequate supply of water were continuously available. (In DesertPET >AET amount of water is limited)3. Soil moisture surplus: occurs when the soil water store is full and thus there issurplus of water for plants, runoff and groundwater recharge. (PP>PET)4. Soil moisture utilisation: Plants (and people) use moisture stored in the soil,leaving it depleted. (AET >PP)5. Soil moisture deficiency: Equivalent to the extra water which would be needed tomaintain maximum plant growth. There is little or no water available for plant growth(irrigation could make good this deficit) (PET > AET)6. Soil moisture recharge: The soil water store starts to fill again after a period of deficiency)7. Field capacity: The moisture a freely drained soil can hold after all free or gravitywater has drained away. Such moisture is held by tension around soil particles,mainl as caillar water.