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Drought monitoring with Sentinel-2

During this webinar you will learn how Sentinel – 2 optical data can be used to monitor changes in surface water extent due to long-lasting drought in South Africa’s Western Cape Province. We will show you how different Sensinel-2 derived water radiometric indices can be used to detect water bodies and monitor changes in their extent.

We will also show you how to access the RUS Service and how to download, process, analyse and visualize the free data acquired by the Copernicus satellites.


Surface water is crucial resource sustaining human lives. It provides water for domestic and commercial use, it is used in agriculture (irrigation) and electricity production. Even small water bodies play a key role as the offer habitats to wildlife, often being a refuge for species but also provide livestock with fresh water. Therefore, in regions prone to drought such as Western Cape Province in South Africa, identification and monitoring of surface water, is necessary to assure the continuity of water supply for citizens, local economy but also to maintain natural habitats.

More frequent and long-lasting droughts caused by global environmental changes are affecting many regions around the world. Warmer temperatures increase evaporation, lessening at the same time the water availability and causing soil and vegetation to dry out.

A three-year's drought threatened South Africa’s Western Cape Province. From 2016 until 2018 this region suffered a drought crisis, causing water dams to shrink significantly. Cape Town claimed this period to be the worst drought in 100 years. In February 2018, the Theewaterskloof, which is the biggest dam in the province and provides about 50% of Cape Town’s water needs dropped to 11% of its capacity. The city water consumption has fallen from 317 million gallons per day in 2015 to about 137 million gallons per day. Fast detection of any changes in surface water extent and its availability is crucial and enables decision-makers to take proper actions, in this case responsible water management.

Satellite remote sensed data are widely used in detecting and monitoring waterbodies and with Sentinel-2 data, we will have a chance to detect waterbodies using different water indices and see changes in the water extent during the drought period.

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Questions & Answers

View and download this webinar's Q&A session document.


1 hour and 20 minutes + Q&A session

Training Time

14:30 - 16:00 CET

Training date

Tuesday 23rd of November 2021

Max. no. participants



Ewelina Dobrowolska / Serco Italia S.p.A

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