Disentangling ecosystem evapotranspiration (ET) into evaporation (E) and transpiration (T) is of high relevance for a wide range of applications, from land surface modelling to policymaking. Identifying and analysing the determinants of the ratio of T to ET (T/ET) for various land covers and uses, especially in view of climate change with an increased frequency of extreme events (e.g. heatwaves and floods), is prerequisite for forecasting the hydroclimate of the future and tackling present issues, such as agricultural and irrigation practices. One partitioning method consists of determining the water stable isotopic compositions of ET, E, and T ([delta].sub.ET, [delta].sub.E, and [delta].sub.E, respectively) from the water retrieved from the atmosphere, the soil, and the plant vascular tissues. The present work emphasizes the challenges this particular method faces (e.g. the spatial and temporal representativeness of the T/ET estimates, the limitations of the models used, and the sensitivities to their driving parameters) and the progress that needs to be made in light of the recent methodological developments. As our review is intended for a broader audience beyond the isotopic ecohydrological and micrometeorological communities, it also attempts to provide a thorough review of the ensemble of techniques used for determining [delta].sub.ET, [delta].sub.E, and [delta].sub.E and solving the partitioning equation for T/ET. From the current state of research, we conclude that the most promising way forward to ET partitioning and capturing the subdaily dynamics of T/ET is by making use of non-destructive online monitoring techniques of the stable isotopic composition of soil and xylem water. Effort should continue towards the application of the eddy covariance technique for high-frequency determination of [delta].sub.ET at the field scale as well as the concomitant determination of [delta].sub.ET, [delta].sub.E, and [delta].sub.E at high vertical resolution with field-deployable lift systems.