Metro Pacific Water | Case Study | Rezatec

Case Study

How satellites are changing the way water resources are managed in the Philippines

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The Problem

The Philippines has an abundant supply of surface water resources, estimated at 146 billion m3/year (Caparas, 2014), with groundwater accounting for 20 billion m3. Yet the country struggles to provide adequate levels of freshwater for the entire population, and experiences water-related problems.

Key challenges affecting water resource management are fragmented water agencies, rapid urbanisation and industrialisation, and inadequate water infrastructure (IWRM, 2018). Together, these and other factors mean the Philippine freshwater ecosystem faces severe problems of pollution and rising costs of potable water supply.

The Solution

Rezatec used freely-available Earth Observation satellite imagery from the National Aerospace and Space Administration (NASA) and the European Space Agency (ESA) with proprietary machine learning algorithms to classify land use, land cover (LULC) types across the Laguna de Bay catchment.

Each LULC class was associated with an emission rate for the five pollutant species identified by Maynilad. These data were then integrated with spatial datasets of topography, soil parameters, climate variables, and stream flow meter data in a hydrologic model to identify flow paths and estimate diffuse pollutant loadings to the lake. This model simulated the effects of land use activities on catchment hydrology and water quality.

The Outcome

In conclusion, the model results indicate that further studies aiming to improve water quality by optimising land management should be focused on residential and urban areas to the south-west of Manila, and agricultural areas along the southern edge of Laguna de Bay.

Given comparable challenges are faced throughout the Philippines, this study highlights the efficacy of satellite data analytics in modelling the effects of land use activity on hydrology and water quality, and offers a blueprint for planning and managing water resources throughout the region, making it easier for water resource managers to be sure they are investing their limited time and budgets in activities that will have a genuine impact on water quality.

See how we can help

Take a look at geospatial AI in action. Explore how satellite data can provide a view of your entire asset base across vast areas. Discover how analytics drill down to a level of detail you never knew existed.