ABSTRACT Soil moisture (SM) plays an important role in regulating the global water cycle, especially in arid areas, and is one of the main indicators of ecological environmental health. Although traditional methods can accurately measure SM at a single sample site, they are limited in large-scale and dynamic SM monitoring. Therefore, we used the Landsat images as the data source and the soil adjusted vegetation index (SAVI) to build the adjusted SAVI (aSAVI) index by modifying the soil adjustment parameter L and introducing the short-wave infrared band. According to the theory of temperature vegetation dryness index (TVDI) and feature space, we introduced a model, combined the measured SM data (Minqin Basin, China) through a comparative analysis of four vegetation indices (NDVI, SAVI, MSAVI, aSAVI) determine the optimal model. Taking the Minqin Basin as the study area, the spatiotemporal variation characteristics of SM in three sub-regions (the entire study area, irrigated region, and periphery of the irrigated regions) were quantitatively analyzed and compared in four different periods: pre-Comprehensive Treatment Program of the Shiyang River Basin (pre-CTSRB) (2000–2005), CTSRB I (2006–2010), CTSRB II (2011–2016), and CTSRB-end (2017–2021) to evaluate the ecological restoration effects of treatment programs from the SM perspective. The results showed that: 1) SM values derived from TVDI inversion and the aSAVI were more accurate, and the model sensitivity decreased with soil depth; 2) the mean value of SM fluctuated across the four periods but decreased slightly over the entire time series. The spatial variations of the SM were characterized by a “descending then ascending” trend. Soil moisture increased in 21.35 % of areas at 0.00-0.10 m in the past 22 years, and 59.66 % at 0.10-0.20 m. There was a negative correlation between the mean variation trend of SM and the percentage of area where SM fell in different periods; 3) the treatment program positively affected the ecological restoration of the Minqin Basin from the SM perspective. The area where SM increased was larger than that of decreasing SM, especially in 0.10-0.20 m soil layer. The increase can promote growth and confer resistance to desertification.