Five methods of computing reference evapotranspiration from a reference crop (Penman, radiation, Blaney-Criddle, Hargreaves and pan evaporation) have been studied for their applicability under different climatic conditions. The Penman method was taken as the standard and the other four methods were compared against this method. Good correlation was obtained between the values estimated by the four methods and the Penman method although differences in magnitude were found. Regression equations were developed to correct those differences in magnitude. The method suitable for the estimation of reference evapotranspiration for each climatic condition is also suggested. © 1991 Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.