Countries in arid regions are presently facing challenges in managing their limited water resources. Assessing the evaporation losses from various sources of water is a daunting task that is inevitable for the sustainability of water resource management schemes in these regions. Although several techniques are available for simulating evaporation rates, identifying the parameters of various evaporation equations still needs to be further investigated. The main goal of this research was to develop a framework for determining the parameters influencing the evaporation rate of evaporation pans. Four different equations, including those of Hamon, Penman, Jensen–Haise, and Makkink, were chosen to estimate evaporation from the evaporation pans installed in the Qassim Region of Saudi Arabia. The parameters of these four equations were identified by a state-of-the-art optimization technique, known as the general reduced gradient (GRG). Three types of objective functions used for optimization were tested. Forty-year monitoring records for pan evaporation, temperature, relative humidity, and sunshine hours were collected from the Municipality of Buraydah Al Qassim, for the period of 1976 to 2016. These data were mainly manually recorded at a weather station situated in the Buraydah city. Preliminary data analysis was performed using the Mann–Kendall and Sen’s slope tests to study the trends. The first 20-year (1976–1995) data were used for calibrating the equations by employing an optimization technique and the remaining data were used for validation purposes. Four new equations were finally developed and their performance, along with the performance of the four original equations, was evaluated using the Nash and Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) and the Mean Biased Error (MBE). The study revealed that among the original equations, the Penman equation performed better than the other three equations. Additionally, among the new equations, the Hamon method performed better than the remaining three equations.
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