Surface water is a crucial resource to sustain human life: water is used for domestic and commercial use, in agriculture and electricity production. More frequent and long-lasting droughts caused by global environmental changes are affecting many regions around the world. Warmer temperatures increase evaporation, reducing water availability and, consequently, causing soil and vegetation to dry out.

Western Cape Province in South Africa is very much prone to droughts. Between 2016 and 2018, this region suffered a drought crisis, causing water dams to shrink significantly and Cape Town claimed it was the worst drought in the last 100 years. The Theewaterskloof dam, the biggest in the province, usually provides about 50% of Cape Town’s water needs, but during this period, it 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 therefore crucial. It enables decision-makers to take proper actions for a responsible water management. Remote sensing and satellite imagery are widely used to detect and monitor water bodies. Sentinel-2 data offer a chance to detect water bodies using different water indices and to observe changes in the water extent during a drought period.

In this webinar, we will show you how, using different radiometric indices of water derived from Sentinel-2, we can detect water bodies and monitor changes in their extent due to a long-lasting drought such as the one which stroke Western Cape Province. We will also show you how to benefit from the RUS Service, to access, process, analyse and visualise the free and open data acquired every day by the Copernicus satellites.

You can replay this webinar through our RUS Copernicus Training channel available on Youtube.

You can also retrieve the corresponding training support in the Train with RUS section of the RUS portal



RUS Webinar – Drought Monitoring from Space with Sentinel-2 – 23 Nov. 2021