A series of field, rainshelter, growth cabinet and modelling studies were conducted to investigate hot pepper response to different irrigation regimes and row spacings; to generate crop-specific model parameters; and to calibrate and validate the Soil Water Balance (SWB) model. Soil, climate and management data of five hot pepper growing regions of Ethiopia were identified to develop irrigation calendars and estimate water requirements of hot pepper under different growing conditions. High irrigation regimes increased fresh and dry fruit yield, fruit number, harvest index and top dry matter production. Yield loss could be prevented by irrigating at 20-25% depletion of plant available water, confirming the sensitivity of the crop to mild soil water stress. High plant density markedly increased fresh and dry fruit yield, water-use efficiency and dry matter production. Average fruit mass, succulence and specific leaf area were neither affected by row spacing nor by irrigation regimes. There were marked differences among the cultivars in fruit yields despite comparable top dry mass production. Average dry fruit mass, fruit number per plant and succulence were significantly affected by cultivar differences. The absence of interaction effects among cultivar and irrigation regimes, cultivars and row spacing, and irrigation regimes and row spacing for most parameters suggest that appropriate irrigation regimes and row spacing that maximize productivity of hot pepper can be devised across cultivars. To facilitate irrigation scheduling, a simple canopy cover based procedure was used to determine FAO-type crop factors and growth periods for different growth stages of five hot pepper cultivars. Growth analysis was done to calculate crop-specific model parameters for the SWB model and the model was successfully calibrated and validated for five hot pepper cultivars under different irrigation regimes or row spacings. FAO basal crop coefficients (Kcb) and crop-specific model parameters for new hot pepper cultivars can now be estimated from the database, using canopy characteristics, day degrees to maturity and dry matter production. Growth cabinet studies were used to determine cardinal temperatures, namely the base, optimum and cut-off temperatures for various developmental stages. Hot pepper cultivars were observed to require different cardinal temperatures for various developmental stages. Data on thermal time requirement for flowering and maturity between plants in growth cabinet and open field experiments matched closely. Simulated water requirements for hot pepper cultivar Mareko Fana production ranged between 517 mm at Melkassa and 775 mm at Alemaya. The simulated irrigation interval ranged between 9 days at Alemaya and 6 days at Bako, and the average irrigation amount per irrigation ranged between 27.9 mm at Bako and 35.0 mm at Zeway.