Satellites Monitor Regions Affected by Desertification and Drought

See the changing water levels at the Visapur Dam in India, captured by Pléiades

Drought hits India for 6 years

The comparison of two Pleiades images taken at two years apart, shows the decrease of the low water of the water reservoir. Change detection allows to regularly measure the water surface held by the dam and to adjust the watering of the fields. In a drought situation, information on low-water levels from satellites is an alert indicator for the authorities to monitor and anticipate the evolution of the crisis.

On the image of January 10, 2017, the dam retains the water of the river Hanga on its 2,692 m length. On the image acquired two years later, the surface of the reservoir seems to have halved, the banks are bare, the parcels are less green and the canal bridge, to the south, is dry.

The State of Maharashtra in India has been in a constant state of drought since the year 2012. The region received lower rainfall during the monsoon season June to September. In 2019, all subdivisions in Maharashtra experienced poor pre-monsoon rainfall. Water levels in irrigation lakes, such as the Visapur dam, affect agricultural production, which makes it fearful of famine.