Water Resource Development Planning using Remote Sensing: A Case Study with a Small Watershed

R.K. Das, E. Tembo, and B. Nkwae (Botswana)


Watershed planning, remote sensing, run-off, hydrological model, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), Global Positioning System GPS)


Watershed is the most viable aerial unit for land and water resource development planning. The information on topography and natural resources is pre-requisite and usually obtained from topographic and thematic maps. These maps are generally outdated and contain inadequate information. The remote sensing images have emerged as an alternative data source for mapping these resources. In this study a small watershed has been considered and images from Indian Remote Sensing satellites have been used for mapping of resources: transportation network, settlements, drainage, water bodies, landuse/landcover, hydro-geomorphology and soil. The extracted information was used to estimate surface runoff. An exercise was carried out for water resource development planning. The advantages and limitations of satellite images in mapping the resources have been evaluated. The extracted information was found to be better than the existing maps in terms of currency and adequacy and meets the requirement of the watershed planning. Despite some limitations the satellite images were found to be the best alternative available for extraction of required information. Some limitations can be overcome by using satellite images of resolution ≤ 1 m. However it is recommended to use images with resolution of 2 - 5 m as a cost-effective data source.

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