We thank Dr T. Trout (USDA-ARS-Water Management Research, Ft. Collins, USA) and Dr J. Ganry (CIRAD, France) for their critical review and constructive suggestions. The experimental work was mainly supported by the projects 1) STRDA/C/AGR/159/92, JNICT. Medigao e Modelagao das Transferencias Hídricas em Espécies Arbóreas (1994-1996). 2) PEAM/C/GRH /587/95 (JNICT): Padroes de uso da água e evapotranspiragao em diferentes topografías - caso-estudo: a vinha (1996-1999). 3) Innovative biological indicators to improve the efficiency of water and nitrogen use and fruit quality in tree crops (FAIR-CT 950030), Program FAIR - EU 4) EVK1-2002-00079 WATERUSE - Evaluation of Alternative Techniques for Determination of Water Budget Components in Water Limited Heterogeneous Land Use Systems, 5th Framework Programme of RTD - EU (2000-2004), 5) AGRO 288-AgM.8, Ac. 8.1, Pr 587 (INIAP, Portugal) Demonstragao do uso de sensores e processos experimentais para a determinagao da quantidade e oportunidade da rega em actinídea (2002-2004) and 6) CEER (FCT, Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology). T. A. Pa?o and R. M. Silva were supported by FCT fellowships. We thank the logistical support given by the private enterprises providing the experimental plots.

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