[en] The Kou watershed is characterized by important water resources used for drinking, agriculture (especially in the important irrigated areas), industry and the preservation of aquatic fauna and flora. For several decades there has been increasing pressure on the Kou’s water resources, partly because of the expansion of the irrigated agricultural areas. This study was conducted to examine this issue, focusing on one specific irrigated area. In order to monitor the expansion of irrigated areas in developing countries, a low-cost remote sensing method based on Landsat images and aerial photographs was developed. The method is based on maximum-likelihood classifications, followed by backward and forward change detection analysis requiring agronomic expertise. Using pixel trajectory analysis, the method connects all pixels to their consecutive states in order to correct their current states. The study showed that the irrigated area has expanded by almost 80% over 20 years, with most of this expansion occurring in the past 10 years. The approach, if validated, could be used to obtain information on past occupation in the rural irrigated areas for which there is no archived data.
Wallonie-Bruxelles International, Université de Liège