Assessing Organic Water Pollution of Inland Wetlands with Remote Sensing and Field Data

María Pérez Ortega; Ma Eugenia Pérez González; José Luis González López
The purpose of this paper was to assess and monitor water pollution using satellite images, orthophotos, analytical data, and fieldwork in a group of Spanish wetlands located in central Spain. The increase in large-scale irrigation schemes, intensive exploitation of water resources, and the water pollution in this area has seriously impacted these habitats. A multi-temporal analysis carried out from 1989 to 2013 showed the improvement or deterioration in water quality of seven of these wetlands. The water quality was determined using analytical and remote sensing data (vegetation index, and spectral and spatial profiles). Two case studies were presented: one wetland showed a remarkable improvement in water quality, with high eutrophication levels reduced as part of a clear decontamination process; the waters of the other wetland remained unaffected by eutrophication processes throughout the study period. Remote sensing techniques only detect the presence of algae in wetlands, and analysis of the water is needed to confirm pollution. The integrated use of both methods would enable consultants and wetland managers to manage these areas more effectively and mitigate pollution problems.
Monitoring wetlands; Water pollution; Remote sensing; NDVI.
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