Satellite Remote Sensing and GIS based Watershed Analysis: Implications for Soil and Water Conservation Practices in the Denkyira Watershed, Ghana
Keywords:Remote sensing, GIS, Morphometric characteristics, Land use change, Denkyira Watershed
Land degradation, deforestation and accelerated soil erosion through anthropogenic actions have restricted numerous watersheds and river basins to contribute to agricultural productivity, food security and economic growth. The study examined morphometric characteristics and land use change and their implications for soil and water conservation practices in Denkyira Watershed, Ghana. The Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) data and Landsat images of Multi-Spectral Scanner (MSS) and Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) were used in generating morphometric and land use data. ERDAS imagine (10.1) and ArcGIS (10.6) software were employed to analyze Landsat and ASTER data. Results revealed that Denkyira Watershed exhibited dendritic drainage pattern, elongated in shape and with high number of first-order streams, an indication of homogenous soil and rock formation, low infiltration rate and high surface runoff. Morphometric analysis further indicated that the Watershed has higher values of drainage density (12.82 km/km2), drainage texture (5.15), infiltration number (5.13) and ruggedness number (5.16) exposing the Watershed to peak discharge and flash flood risks. Between 1986 and 2015, natural forest, secondary forest and water bodies decreased by 26.08 %, 13.67 % and 237.50 % respectively while degraded lands increased by 91.33 %. Land use and land cover changes in the watershed have triggered mechanical soil erosion and altered hydraulic stream characteristics. Installation of check dams, creation of earth bunds, construction of water absorbing terraces and trenches and valley bottom cropping are the most recommended restoration measures for the watershed. The study concludes that investment in soil and water conservation practices in the watersheds will help to reduce the erosive velocity of surface runoff, mitigate seasonal flooding risks and reclaim degraded farmlands while ensuring agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability.
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