Evapotranspiration (ET) is an important process in the hydrological cycle and needs to be accurately quantified for proper irrigation scheduling and optimal water resources systems operation. The time variant characteristics of ET necessitate the need for forecasting ET. In this paper, two techniques, namely a seasonal ARIMA model and Winter’s exponential smoothing model, have been investigated for their applicability for forecasting weekly reference crop ET. A seasonal ARIMA model with one autoregressive and one moving average process and with a seasonality of 52 weeks was found to be an appropriate stochastic model. The ARIMA and Winter’s models were compared with a simple ET model to assess their performance in forecasting. The forecast errors produced by these models were very small and the models would be promisingly of great use in real-time irrigation management. © 1995 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.