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Water Resour Manage DOI 10.

1007/s11269-011-9941-8

Estimation of Small Reservoir Storage Capacities with Remote Sensing in the Brazilian Savannah Region
Lineu N. Rodrigues & Edson E. Sano & Tammo S. Steenhuis & Denlson P. Passo

Received: 22 September 2010 / Accepted: 26 October 2011 # Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Abstract Small reservoirs play an important role in supporting the local economy in the savannah areas of Brazil and are primarily used for the provision of water for irrigation and watering livestock. Hundreds of small reservoirs have been built in the last few decades in the Preto River Basin, but efficient water management and sound planning are hindered by inadequate knowledge of the number, storage capacity and spatial distribution of reservoirs in the basin. The main reason for the lack of this information is that current methodologies for quantifying the physical parameters of reservoirs are laborious, time consuming and costly. To address this lack of data, a simple method to estimate reservoir storage volumes based on remotely sensed reservoir surface area measured with LANDSAT was developed. The method was validated with a subset of reservoirs in the Preto River Basin for which surface areas, shapes and depths were determined with ground-based survey measurements. The agreement between measured and the remotely sensed reservoir volumes was satisfactory, indicating that remotely-sensed images can be used for improved management of water in the Brazilian Savannah region. With the newly developed methods we found that the Preto River Basins 147 small reservoirs can store 19106 m3 of water at full capacity. Keywords Water resources . Dams . Bathymetry . Storage volumes

1 Introduction People living in dry environments with highly variable rainfall frequently experience droughts and floods. Reservoirs capture surface runoff during the rainy season that can be released when rainfall is lacking. Small reservoirs, therefore, are important for overcoming
L. N. Rodrigues (*) : E. E. Sano : D. P. Passo Embrapa Cerrados, BR 020, Km 18, Caixa Postal 08223, 73010-970 Planaltina, DF, Brazil e-mail: lineu@cpac.embrapa.br T. S. Steenhuis Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA

L.N. Rodrigues et al.

minor droughts. While management information is available for large reservoirs, it is invariably lacking for the small reservoirs in the world (Liebe et al. 2009). In this paper we are interested in findings ways to improve the management with small reservoirs. They have dam heights of generally less than 15 m. Arrays of small reservoirs can potentially have a large impact on the hydrology and the ecology of the surrounding environment. Information about reservoir locations and storage volumes is critical for decision-making processes regarding planning and management of water resources. While there are many methods for locating reservoirs, few methods are available for estimating storage capacity. Current techniques include direct methods (reservoir surveys using boats) and indirect methods such as the use of topographical maps and satellite data. When great precision is not crucial, a quick survey can be made by measuring throwback, maximum depth and maximum width of reservoirs (Sawunyama et al. 2006). Meigh (1995) used the indirect method, based on topographical maps, to estimate surface areas of the small farm reservoirs in Botswana and developed a power relationship between reservoir capacity and surface area measured from topographical maps. Remotely sensed data can make very precise measurements (Kb et al. 2005). With this technique water boundaries can be delineated over large areas (Frazier and Page 2000; Kuleli 2010). Magome et al. (2003) comment that is desirable to develop technology to monitor reservoir storage using satellite remote sensing techniques, even though volume of water storage cannot be determined directly by the technology. Several studies have been published on mapping or delineating water boundaries using Landsat TM imaginary (Carvalho et al. 2009; Hui et al. 2008; Rodrigues et al. 2007; Liebe et al. 2005; Frazier and Page 2000). Reis and Yilmaz (2008) monitored water levels effectively with LandSat TM images. Mialhe et al. (2008) mapped and quantified water stocks in small irrigation reservoirs in India from Landsat images. Magome et al. (2003) used satellite observations and digitized topographic data to monitor seasonal and inter-annual variation of water storage in Volta Lake reservoirs (Akosombo dam) in Ghana. Liebe et al. (2005) surveyed 61 small reservoirs in the Upper East Region of Ghana and derived an expression relating reservoir areas (measured with remote sensing techniques) to storage volumes. Liebes method was simple, cost effective and had a high precision (NS=0.975). Using the same technique, Sawunyama et al. (2006) surveyed 12 small reservoirs in the Mzingwane catchment in Limpopo River Basin and found a good correlation (R2 =0.95) between surface area and storage volume as well. Liebe et al. (2009) recently showed another important application of the technique using small reservoirs as runoff gauges. They estimated runoff volume by change in reservoir areas satellite imagery. Remote sensing techniques are more cost effective for determining small reservoir storage than maintaining level recording devices. Despite the large number of poorly-defined reservoirs in drought prone areas in South America and particularly Brazil, the indirect satellite imagery methods developed in Africa have not yet been employed in South America. The main reason is that valley shapes are different in Africa than Brazil because of the underlying geology is different. As describe by Liebe (2002) the cross sections of inland valleys in West Africa mainly are rectilinear types, while in the savannahs area of Brazil they are mainly concave. In addition, reservoirs in Africa dry up during the dry season, while reservoirs in many parts of Brazil retain water throughout the year. Consequently the surface area/volume relationship developed in Africa cannot be used in Brazil. Our objective was, therefore, to test and adapt the current methods for estimating reservoir volumes based on surface area measurements for conditions in the Preto River Basin in the Brazilian savannah. Small reservoirs in Preto Basin are crucial for supplying

Estimation of Small Reservoir Storage Capacities

water for livestock and for irrigation of crops during droughts. These reservoirs were constructed by various government and private agencies with little or no coordination among them. After construction either individual farmers or farmers association are responsible for maintenance but maintenance is irregularly at best.

2 Methodology 2.1 Study Area The 10,500 km2 Preto River Basin drainage area is located in the central portion of Brazil, on the western side of the Middle portion of the So Francisco Basin. The Basin traverses two states, Minas Gerais and Gois, as well as the Federal District, and encompasses 10 municipalities (6 in Minas Gerais, 4 in Gois). The Preto River is a main tributary of the Paracatu River, one of the headwater tributaries to the So Francisco River. About 80% of the agricultural production from the Federal District comes from the Preto River Basin. The basin has a tropical wet and dry climate, with a long dry season lasting from May to September, and rainy season that usually starts around October and ends in April. The average annual rainfall is around 1,200 mm, of which 85% occurs during the rainy season. The length of the dry season contributes to various problems with forest fires, water shortages and conflicts, and insecure food production. The geological environment of the Basin consists basically of low-grade metamorphic rocks. Over the Precambrian rocks is a lateritic layer varying in thickness from centimeters up to 30 m. Latosols dominate the existing plateaus, while laterite crusts and immature soils are dominant in the transition zones between plateaus and river valleys (Mendona et al. 1994). Viable agriculture is only possible with irrigation, which depends on the water stored in the small reservoirs. The shape and volume of reservoirs depend on the shape of the stream channel beds and valleys in which they are constructed. The small reservoirs in the Preto River basin are generally shallow, because of the gently undulating terrain. 2.2 Reservoir Inventory with Satellite Imagery The inventory and classification of reservoirs was conducted by means of remote sensing using three Landsat ETM images taken in 2005 (Rodrigues et al. 2007). In the basin, 252 small dams were identified with reservoir surface areas varying between 1 and 413 ha. In this classification good user accuracy was achieved, with just one misclassification (that of a lagoon listed as a reservoir) detected in the 51% of reservoirs visited. The satellite and ground based surface areas were compared and used as a second quality indicator. 2.3 Field Work and Data Collection A questionnaire-based and semi-structured interview was carried out with farming households prior to each reservoir survey, with questions focused on reservoir characteristics such as existence of technical information (area, depth, maps, etc.), maintenance, age, purpose, etc. The initial database consisted of 252 small reservoirs, but only those with surface areas between 1 and 50 ha were considered. There were a total of 147 small reservoirs in this size range. For informational purposes, the reservoirs were split into three categories as used by Liebe et al. (2005) (Fig. 1): Category 1, with lake surface areas between 1 and 3 ha (68 reservoirs), Category 2 with areas between 3 and 10 ha (51 reservoirs), and Category 3 10

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Fig. 1 Box 1 is showing the So Francisco River Basin in the context of Brazil. Box 2 is showing the Preto River Basin in the context of the So Francisco. In Box 3 the Preto River Basin was blown up to show reservoirs identified in satellite imagery (LandSat) and distribution of the surveyed reservoirs by surface area category (Category 1: 13 ha; Category 2: 310 ha; and Category 3: 1050 ha)

to 50 ha (28 reservoirs). To have an extensive sample set and to ensure sufficient coverage for finding surface area/volume relationships, 42 out of the 147 (28%) of the 147 small reservoirs were evaluated. This represented 29% of the reservoirs in Categories 1 and 2, and 25% of Category 3. Maximum reservoir depths and surface areas varied from 1.80 m to 10.25 m (average=5.0 m) and 1.1 ha to 35 ha (average=7.1 m), respectively. The selected reservoirs were visited and measured during three fieldwork periods that were conducted from March to April and October to November of 2006 and from March to May of 2007. The shape and size of the reservoir surface area were determined by walking around each reservoir with a handheld GPS and taking large numbers of points along the shoreline. Following that step, bathymetric maps were compiled. To estimate the volume, water depths were measured using a plummet from a boat and GPS coordinates determined at many locations inside the reservoir. In taking the measurements the emphasis was on finding the deepest point that was usually located near the dam and not according to a predefined grid. Care was taken to achieve good coverage of points well spread over the reservoir while focusing on the areas closest to the dam wall where the reservoir is usually the deepest. In order to assure good quality data and whether more readings should be takes, the depth and GPS data were downloaded to a laptop and analyzed before leaving the site. A box plot representing the relationship between reservoir surface areas and number of measurements taken in each reservoir per category is presented in Fig. 2a. It can be noted that in average it was taken 24 measurements/ha, in category 1, nine in category 2 and 9.4 in three. The reservoirs in category one have a much higher variation in the measurements that was taken, this is due to the fact that they were used to better understand the number and distribution of measures that was necessary to have a good volume estimation. In Fig. 2b is presented the measured surface areas and the maximum water depth of the reservoirs evaluated. It can be seen that there is no relationship between the maximum areas and depths. For instance, the reservoir number three, with area of 20.50 ha and maximum water depth of 3 m, and the reservoir 34 with area of 1.60 ha and water depth of 8.50 m.

Estimation of Small Reservoir Storage Capacities


Maximum surface area (ha) and depth (m) Number of depth measurements per ha

60 50 40 30 20 10 0

(a)

40

(b)
Maximum surface area Maximum water depth

30

20

10

0 0 10 20 30 40

Categories

ID

Fig. 2 Variation of the number of depth measurements taken per hectare in each category (a) and measured surface areas and the maximum water depth of the reservoirs evaluated (b)

2.4 Reservoir Modeling and Storage Capacity (Volume) Estimation Satellite measurements of 75 reservoir surface areas were well correlated with field measured areas (R2 of 0.92). Deviations in surface area measurements between the two methods were the result of both the coarse image spatial resolution (30 m) and the presence of herbaceous water plant cover in the shallow tail parts of the reservoirs. Liebe et al. (2005) observed a similar problem in the reservoirs in Ghana for Landsat imagery in which perimeter cells have mixed spectral signatures. Surfer (Golden Software) was used to calculate the surveyed reservoir volumes by creating a 3D-Model for each reservoir (Fig. 3). Using the kriging interpolation method, the point data was interpolated over a 1-meter regular grid. The water level at the shoreline was

Fig. 3 Picture and 3D model of a small reservoir in the Savannah Region. Maximum water depth=4.05 m and surface area=1.4 ha. Ninety one depth measurements were taken to create the 3D model

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set as the 0-level by incorporating the outline of the reservoir as a break line polygon, so each point along the shoreline was interpreted as a 0 value in the interpolation process. 2.5 Volume-Area Relationship and Total Small Reservoir Storage Capacity The volume-area relationship was determined by a linear regression of the log of both the maximum surface area and storage capacity. The goodness of fit of the resulting power relationship was then determined with the standard R2 and the model efficiency measure of Nash and Suttcliffe (1970). With this relationship the total storage capacities of all small reservoirs in the Preto River Basin were then calculated using surface area estimated from Landsat imaginary.

3 Results 3.1 Questionnaires and Semi-Structured Interviews Of the 47 reservoir sites visited, 42 interviews were conducted. In some cases the field team was not allowed to take measurements and farmers were unwilling to answer questions. Questionnaire responses were analyzed and synthesized as follows: i) 17% of the small reservoirs were at least 30 years old and 7% were built during the last 5 years; ii) both private and public reservoirs were constructed independently, with little or no coordination among the implementing organizations; iii) the majority were built without taking into account that reservoirs are hydrologically connected vi) a significant number of reservoirs were functioning sub optimally and/or falling into disrepair; v) reservoir maintenance is inadequate, and dam failure could cause serious damage to downstream communities; vi) the lack of vegetation in the reservoir boundaries contributed to erosion and increases the sedimentation rate, with reduction of reservoir storage capacity causing economic problems to the users; vii) in 73% of the reservoirs visited, there was no technical information about their construction; viii) 38% of the reservoirs were used for irrigation. Center pivot was the main irrigation system; and ix) 57% of the farmers did not manage irrigation water use. Based on both the survey results above and how agriculture developed in the region, it becomes obvious that the reservoirs were built during the time that the irrigated area was rapidly expanding. Currently some reservoirs are not used because during dry spells they do not contain sufficient water for irrigation due to leakage as a consequence of poor construction and improper maintenance. In the future, new reservoirs have to be built and the ones that are available better utilized. The remotely sensed imageries of the temporal reservoir storages will allow better and more coordinated reservoirs planning and avoid shortage of water for irrigation and resulting socioeconomic impacts. 3.2 Remotely Sensed Surface Area-Volume Relationship Area/volume relationships are first presented for each state because it is important for water agencies to have this information that can be directly applied in their respective states. A generalized area/volume relationship is also presented for the overall Brazilian Savannah region. The volume area relationships are as follows:

&

State of Minas GeraisNine small reservoirs were evaluated, Category 1: 3, Category 2: 4, and Category 3: 2. Water depths in the measured reservoirs varied from 1.8 to

Estimation of Small Reservoir Storage Capacities

8.1 m and the remotely sensed surface areas 1 to 46.5 ha. The equation that relates capacity (V) to surface area (A) for all nine reservoirs is: V 2:01 A 2:3104 ;
2 3

R2 0:98

&

where the area is in m and the volume in m . Federal DistrictNineteen small reservoirs were evaluated (Category 1: 14, Category 2: 4, Category 3: 1). Water depths varied from 1.8 to 9.2 m and the remotely- sensed surface area were 1.1 to 19.3 ha. The equation that relates capacity, V (m3), to area A (m2) for the 19 reservoirs is V 1:23 A1:20 R2 0:76 2

&

State of GoisFourteen reservoirs were evaluated (Category 1: 2, Category 2: 7, and Category 3: 5). Water depths varied from 1.8 m to 10.3 m and the remotely-sensed surface areas were 1.6 ha to 34.9 ha. The area/volume equation is: V 2:66 A 7:4104 R2 0:82 3

When we pool the 42 observations for the whole basin, we find that the area volume relationship is V 0:45 A1:11 R2 0:83 4

Despite the variety of reservoir shapes, the derived equation for all reservoirs, independent of size, for the whole Preto River Basin fitted the observed data quite well (Fig. 4), with a Nash and Suttcliffe (1970) efficiency of 82%. Since the sides of these reservoirs have gentle slopes, minor changes in depth result in relatively large surface area changes. When comparing the area volume relationships for the Preto River basin in Eq. 4 with those obtained for basins in Africa by Liebe et al. (2005) for Upper East Region of Ghana and Sawunyama et al. (2006) for Mzingwane catchment, we note that the shapes are different. Liebe et al. (2005) and Sawunyama et al. (2006) fitted the data with an exponential coefficient of 1.43 and 1.33, respectively, while the coefficient obtained to Preto Basin is 1.11. Thus the relationship in Brazil is closer to a straight line while those from West Africa are more curved. In fact in the relationships of the states of Gois and Minas Gerais showed

Storage capacity (m3)*10,000

Fig. 4 General storage capacity and remotely sensed area relationships considering all surveyed small reservoirs in the Preto River Basin

120,0 100,0 80,0 60,0 40,0 20,0 0,0 0,0

V = 0,45 A1,11 R = 0,83

5,0

10,0

15,0

20,0

25,0

30,0

35,0

40,0

Surface area (m2) x 10,000

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a linear trend. The linearity is a direct consequence of the nearly uniform slopes towards the river in a relatively flat area where the reservoirs are located. If the equation to calculate storage capacity developed by Liebe et al. 2005 for Africa, was used in the Preto River Basin in Brazil, the equation would have underestimated the volume for the reservoirs with surface areas smaller than 25 ha. Our results suggest that the volume-area equations are region-specific and as expected, vary with the valley shape and geology of the area. 3.3 Water Storage Capacity of Small Reservoirs in the Preto River Basin and in its States The equation stored volume-area derived for the basin was used to calculate the total water stored in small reservoirs in the Preto River basin and its states (Fig. 5). The portion of the Federal District falling within the Preto River Basin has on the average one reservoir per 30 km2, with a total capacity of 2.6106 m3, or 14% of the total water stored in the basin. Minas Gerais state has on the average one reservoir in each 90 km2 and a total storage of 10.8106 m3, which represents 57% of the total water stored in the basin. Gois state has one reservoir per 70 km2, and a total storage of 5.4106 m3, which represents 29% of the total water stored in the basin.

4 Conclusions Information about reservoir capacities is essential for management of small reservoirs, hydrological modeling studies and for catchment dynamics assessment. Reservoirs are not typically regarded as part of the hydrological system by farmers or by local agencies, but can both impact the hydrology and can be the cause of water conflicts because they take water from the available stream flow. Remote sensing was found to be a suitable means to detect small reservoirs and accurately measure their surface areas in the Preto River Basin.

1x106 DF MG GO

20x106

States total stored volume (m )

800x103

28.7% 15x106

600x103 10x106 400x103 57.3%

5x106 200x103 14.0% 0 0 DF 20 40 60 MG 80 100 120 140 GO Basin 160 0

Fig. 5 Water stored in small reservoirs in the states of the Preto River basin (Federal DistrictDF; Minas GeraisMG; GoisGO) and total water stored in the basin for the year of 2005

Preto River Basin total stored volume (m )

Estimation of Small Reservoir Storage Capacities

The majority of small reservoirs, for which detailed information has been lacking, can now be included in water management planning for the catchment without the need to carry out extensive field surveys. The general relationship between measured reservoir volumes and their remotely sensed surface areas showed good agreement. The R2 =83% gives, in some extent, confidence in its use, especially for reservoirs with no other available information. Combining this relationship with periodic satellite-based reservoir area measurements will allow hydrologists and planners to have a clear picture of water resource system in the Preto River Basin, especially in ungauged subbasins. At full capacity, the water that the Preto River Basins 147 small reservoirs can capture is likely small, but these act as a set of well-distributed and easily accessible water source systems that have multiple uses, reducing the populations vulnerability and improving their livelihoods. The applicability of the derived relationships to other catchments should be examined in future, as should hydrological modeling to investigate the impacts of small reservoirs on water resources available in the basin.
Acknowledgments The presented research was carried out as part of the Small Reservoir Project. We gratefully acknowledge financial support of Advisory Service on Agricultural Research for Development (BEAF) through the Challenge Program on Water and Food.

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