Use of Remote-Sensing-Based Global Products for Agricultural Drought Assessment in the Narmada Basin, India

Jeewanthi Sirisena*, Denie Augustijn, Aftab Nazeer*, Janaka Bamunawala

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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Droughts exert severe impacts on the environment, economy, and society. The south Asian region is vulnerable to droughts and the Indian sub-continent is one of the most vulnerable in the region to frequent drought disasters. This study assesses the agricultural droughts in the Narmada River Basin (NRB), India, where more than 50% of the area is utilized for agriculture, through freely available local and global remote-sensing-based data focusing on long-term rainfall trends (1989–2018) and recently weakened monsoons in 2017 and 2018. In this study, some of the widely used indices to characterize droughts (viz., Standardized Precipitation Index (SPI), simplified Rainfall Index (RIs), Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI)), soil moisture content, and reservoir surface areas were used to assess the drought conditions in the Narmada River Basin over the study period. Our analysis shows that the NRB has experienced a decreasing trend in monsoon rainfall over the past three decades. The SPI captured most of the basin’s historical droughts. The weakened monsoons during 2017–2018 show that different parts of the NRB have experienced severe or moderate drought conditions. A clear difference does not show in the NDVI and in the soil moisture contents of the basin over three hydrological years (2015/16, 2016/17, and 2017/18), except for July to September 2017/18. The estimated water area depletion using the Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) follows the actual water levels in three selected reservoirs in the basin, of which, two show a decline in the maximum surface area, likely due to the weakened monsoons in 2017 and 2018. This research indicates that the freely available data can be beneficial for local authorities to monitor and understand the drought conditions to support water resources management and planning for agricultural activities
Original languageEnglish
Article number13050
Number of pages21
JournalSustainability and climate change
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 12 Oct 2022

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