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Identification of Surface Water Storing Sites Using Topographic Wetness Index (TWI) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)

by Ethiopia Basra and Belete Berhanu

Ethiopia is endowed with water and has a high runoff generation area compared to many countries, but the total stored water only goes up to approximately 36BCM. The problem of water shortage in Ethiopia emanates from the seasonality of rainfall and the lack of infrastructure for storage to capture excess runoff during flood seasons. Based on this premise, a method for a syndicate use of topography, land use and vegetation was applied to locate potential surface water storing sites. The steady-state Topographic Wetness Index (TWI) was used to represent the spatial distribution of water flow and water stagnating across the study area and the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) was used to detect surface water through multispectral analysis. With this approach, a number of water storing sites were identified in three categories: primary sources (water bodies based), secondary sources (Swampy/wetland based) and tertiary sources (the land based). A sample volume analysis for the 120354 water storing sites in category two, gives a 44.92BCM potential storing capacity with average depth of 4 m that improves the annual storage capacity of the country to 81BCM (8.6 % of annual renewable water sources). Finally, the research confirmed the TWI and NDVI based approach for water storing sites works without huge and complicated earth work; it is cost effective and has the potential of solving complex water resource challenges through spatial representation of water resource systems. Furthermore, the application of remote sensing captures temporal diversity and includes repetitive archives of data, enabling the monitoring of areas, even those that are inaccessible, at regular intervals.

Article published in JNRD