EIB Water Management - Satellite Images for the Monitoring of Ground Water Abstraction in Jordan
Weise, Kathrin1; Wolf, Bert1; Schwarz, Michael1; Wegmueller, Urs2; van Gilst, Thomas3; Coulson, Stephen4; Grabak, Ola4; Bartalis, Zoltan4

1 Background

The Kingdom of Jordan belongs to the ten water scarcest countries in the world, and climate change is likely to increase the frequency of future droughts. Jordan is considered among the 10 most water impoverished countries in the world, with per capita water consumption availability at 170 m3 per annum, compared to an average of 1,000 m3 per annum in other countries.
Jordan Government has taken the strategic decision to develop a conveyor system including a 325 km pipe to pump 100 million m3 per year of potable water from Disi-Mudawwara close to the Saudi Border to Amman. The construction of the water pipeline has started end of 2009 and shall be finished in 2013. Later on, the pipeline could serve as a major part of a national water carrier in order to convey desalinated water from the Red Sea to the economically most important central region of the country.
The conveyor project will not only significantly increase water supplies to the capital, but also provide for the re-allocation of current supplies to other governorates, and for the conservation of aquifers. In the context of the Disi project that is co-funded by EIB two ''Environmental and Social Management Plans'' have been prepared: one for the private project partners and one for the Jordan Government. The latter includes the Government's obligation to re-balance water allocations to irrigation and to gradually restore the protected wetlands of Azraq (Ramsar site) east of Amman that has been depleted due to over-abstraction by re-directing discharge of highland aquifers after the Disi pipeline becomes operational.
The Water Strategy recognizes that groundwater extraction for irrigation is beyond acceptable limits. Since the source is finite and priority should be given to human consumption it proposes to tackle the demand for irrigation through tariff adjustments, improved irrigation technology and disincentive to water intensive crops. The Disi aquifer is currently used for irrigation by farms producing all kinds of fruits and vegetables on a large scale and exporting most of their products to the Saudi and European markets and it is almost a third of Jordan's total consumption. The licenses for commercial irrigation expired in 2011/12 and will be not renewed. The challange will be the enforcement and satellite based information become an important supporting tool for monitoring adherence and restoration.

2 Methods

The presented ''Water management'' project will provide a baseline about the land cover and land cover changes in the Disi and Azraq area over the last 13 years and about land subsidence in both areas.
The Land Cover Mapping service consists of the following main layers for the Disi and the Azraq area:

  • the Land use / Land cover (LULC) maps for 2 acquisition dates
  • LULC change maps

    Due to the data availability of historical and up to date data VHR data of the SPOT 4 and 5 satellites of the years 1998 and 2011 have been selected for the LULC and LULC change mapping.
    The mapping methodology will be supervised and segment-based. First step will be the ortho-rectification and matching of all SPOT data by using SRTM elevation data and GCP's from a ground truth campaign. In a second step the SPOT scenes will be radiometrically adapted before LULC classification and change mapping. The minimum mapping unit for LULC and change mapping will be 0,1 ha.
    The map legend will contain all classes of the GW-II legends for LULC and LULC changes that comprises Corine Land cover classes together with the Ramsar typology. The change classes of the Land Cover Flow legend indicate the conversions that happen between two classes. It has been developed by European Environmental Agency (EEA) and slightly modified in GW-II.

    LULC and LULC change map example Azraq (source DUE project GW-II)

    Most important classes for the monitoring of the termination of the irrigation licenses will be:
  • irrigated and non-irrigated agriculture
  • intensive or non-intensive water consuming plants.

    The terrain deformation mapping includes two elements. The first element corresponds to the persistent scatterer analysis (PSI). The processing will be done following the specifications of the Terrafirma project.
    According to the data availability the analysis is based on ENVISAT ASAR, ERS and ALOS Palsar data acquired between 2003 and 2010.
    The Persistent Scatterer Interferometry workflow includes several processing steps as the preparation of the SRTM DEM, the SAR data selection and ordering, SAR raw data processing and SLC co-registration forming the base for the PSI computation. The results are then geocoded and will be visualized using optical imagery as background reference as well as tables with the displacement information where the database will be based

    3 Results

    The available SPOT data show a small increase of agriculture and settlements between the August 1989 and December 2011 and indicate very well the irrigation due to the presence of chlorophyll in August and December. The loss of green vegetation around the permanently flooded area in the wetland centre is also very well visible. It is due to a fire that burned most of the reed plants in Azraq in autumn 2011.

    Left: SPOT 4 Azraq 1989-08-18 Right: SPOT 5 Azraq 2011-12-08

    In Disi (left) just a few movements up to 10mm can be found for the reviewed time frame. In Azraq (right) there are more changes up to 10mm. In the center it is probably due to the movement of the sand dunes - one of the phenomena that on-site people would like to monitor. In the North changes result probably from vegetation changes, in the West probably from changes inside the settlement. In the East of Azraq there is no vegetation and no settlement and the changes could be due to land subsidence or erosion - a question that the people on-site could possibly answer.

    Left: Jordan, QaDisi, ENVISAT descending track , 2003-2010, Average line-of-sight displacement map derived using PSI on ASAR data 2003 2010 Right: Jordan, Azraq (AOI-2) ENVISAT descending track, 2003-2010, Average line-of-sight displacement map derived using PSI on ASAR data 2003 - 2010

    4 Outlook

    The presented ESA funded project ''Water management'' has the objective to support the South-North conveyor project and the activities of EIB together with the MWI in Jordan to ensure the supply of water for the increasing demand.EO Information will provide a baseline for land cover and elevation and support the monitoring of further stages. Thus it will be also a baseline to monitor effects of water abstraction in Disi and the environmental restoration in Azraq as well as EO will deliver indicators about the abidance of the irrigation permissions.