SATELLITE technology and comprehensive water management concepts are essential to ensure the sustainability of the country’s water resources, an academic says.
Piyatida Ruangrassamee, a researcher from the Faculty of Engineering at Chulalongkorn University, said that to achieve proper and sustainable water management, authorities should adopt the new global trend in water management, which considers all aspects of water usage by utilising hydrological information that comes from modern satellite technology.
Piyatida said the new global trend of water resource management prioritises the connection between water, energy and food security and a long-term water resource management strategy.
“Efficient water management and planning need to have consideration of all levels of water consumption, from local to the national level, as well as other aspects about water such as disaster |prevention and environmental preservation,” Piyatida said.
“However, our research finds that we can never properly plan such a complex and comprehensive water management plan without the accurate real-time hydrological information provided by water measuring equipment in the area and data from satellites.”
She said that nowadays the data from satellites has a more important role in assisting better water management planning, because the satellites can provide continuous and detailed hydrological data of a very large area.
Therefore, when using the satellite data with real-time water measurement information at the local level, we can get a comprehensive, full picture of the water situation that can be used to plan water resource management, she said.
“There are many examples of satellite data usage for water management and planning in many countries. For instance Nasa (the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) and South Korea have been using satellites to monitor and predict the water situation to prepare for flood and drought,” Piyatida said.
Anon Sanitwong na Ayutthaya, director of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, said Thailand’s agencies have been using satellite data for water management and planning for a while.
Crucial tool for water data
“Satellites can provide real-time information for water management in many forms. More advanced satellite technology allows us to monitor the cloud movement and weather to measure or predict precipitation, estimate the total flooded areas, or even calculate the water consumption of the agricultural sector,” Anon said.
He said satellite technology will be a prominent tool for acquiring water data for a while, but with the advancement of drone technology he predicted that the unmanned aircraft will slowly replace satellites in hydrological data collection in the near future.
“Water management is now focusing more on the local water basin scale, so drones can provide more detailed data from above on the regional level compared to satellites, which have wider area coverage,” he said.
“Nevertheless, I think that hydrological data from satellites is still important for transnational water management, due to its wide coverage.”