Utilization of Remote Sensing for River Basin Studies

Topics: Hydrology, Remote sensing, Water Pages: 13 (3535 words) Published: June 21, 2013

Utilization of Remote Sensing For River Basin Stuides

Aroboinosen Hillary

Department of Agricultural and Bio-Resources Engineering, Federal University of Technology, Minna, Niger State, Nigeria.

Email: aroby_hillary@yahoo.com

June 2013


The efficient management and use of water resources is a prime concern all over the world. This sometimes leads to scarcity creating an environment of tension and conflict, on the other hand excess of water can cause flooding and became a threat to the citizens. This study examines the use of remote sensing for river basin studies. Remote sensing (RS) data are an alternative to in-situ hydro meteorological data in remote and poorly monitored areas and are increasingly used in hydrological modeling. The growing availability of multi-temporal satellite data has increased opportunities for monitoring large rivers from space. A variety of passive and active sensors operating in the visible and microwave range are currently operating, or planned, which can estimate inundation area and delineate flood boundaries.

Keywords: remote sensing, river basin, satellites, floods


A river basin is a body of land where water from different sources converge, it also drains out towards a larger body of water such as the ocean or the sea as well as collects water and moisture from different sources, such as those that come from the drainage systems of homes, and drains them out into other bodies of water. (Adams, 2005)

In its bid to address poor drinking water services and sanitation problems and meet its water-related Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), Nigeria is currently undergoing a broad process of reform of its integrated water resources management at basin level. This shift underscores its commitment to move from water resources development to an effective water resources management (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2003).

Following the 1972-74 drought in Nigeria which many described as the worst ever experienced, it was not a surprise that the Supreme Military Council promulgated decree 25 of 1976, as a swift move towards the development of Nigeria’s water resources. Accordingly, that gave birth to 11 River Basin Development Authorities, (RBDAs) to harness the nation’s water resources and optimize its agricultural resources for food sufficiency (Federal Government of Nigeria, 2003). The RBDAs include; Upper Benue Basin, the Lake Chad Basin, Benin-Owena Basin, Sokoto-Rima Basin, Sokoto; Hadejia-Jema’are Basin, Kano, Maiduguri & Yola; the Lower Benue Basin, Makurdi and the Cross River Basin, Calabar. Others are; Oshun-Ogun Basin, Abeokuta; Anambra-Imo Basin, Owerri; the Niger Basin, Ilorin; and Niger Delta Basin, Port Harcourt.

Instructively, the RBDAs were primarily established to provide water for irrigation and domestic water supply, improvement of navigation, hydro-electric power generation, recreation facilities and fisheries projects. The basins were also expected to engender big plantation farming and encourage the establishment of industrial complexes that could bring the private and public sectors in joint business partnership. Additionally, RBDAs were expected to bridge the gap between the rural and urban centers by taking development to the grass roots and discourage migration from the rural areas to the urban centers. These objectives were to be achieved through surface impoundment of water by constructing small, medium and large dams, which would enable all-year round farming activities in the country (Biswas, 1997). Though the objectives of establishing these basins in Nigeria cannot be said to be fully achieved, this is because of inconsistent policy changes and somersault as well as inadequate funding on the part of government (Biswas, 1997). Upon establishment, the policy at that time was to produce food and services to later incorporate hydro power generation and presently creating enabling...

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