Managing water resources with satellite technology

14 Dec 2013

In a bid to build capacity on satellite remote sensing applications for water resources management, a five-day workshop was organized for participants from the ICIMOD regional member countries in Kathmandu, Nepal.

A number of passive and active sensors for precipitation, surface water, cryosphere, and terrestrial water storage change were introduced to the participants. They were also taught modeling techniques for assessment and forecasting of water level dynamics.

Speaking at the opening of the workshop on 2 December 2013, Senior Manager Basanta Shrestha of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) said the Hindu Kush Himalayan region is considered the ‘Third Pole’ and holds vast amount of water.

“That is why this training on water resources management is extremely important,” Basanta Shrestha told the participants. “During his recent visit to ICIMOD, the NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) associate administrator and veteran astronaut Dr John M. Grunsfeld commented that from space, the Himalayas really stand out.”

Twenty three participants from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Pakistan, India, and Nepal attended the workshop resourced by Dr Faisal Hossain of Tennessee Tech University in the US. Other resource persons included Dr J Turk of NASA-JPL, and Dr C K Shum, Dr Stephane Calmant and Dr Steven Tseng of the Ohio State University, US.

Giving an overview of the workshop, Dr Faisal Hossain thanked ICIMOD, US Agency for International Development (USAID) and NASA for the opportunity to share important knowledge regarding water resources management and flood forecast with the regional stakeholders.

Specific aspects highlighted during the training included macro-scale hydrologic modeling of water resources in South Asia for climate change impact analysis, use of satellite precipitation data and use of geodetic satellites for water extent, level and flood monitoring. The use of satellite gravimetry for monitoring seasonal/annual terrestrial storage change was also discussed.

The workshop was organized under the framework of the SERVIR-Himalaya programme as part of the applied science team capacity building effort.