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Use of RADARSAT-1 data and a digital elevation model to assess flood damage and improve rice production in the lower part of the Chi River Basin, Thailand

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In Thailand, flooding due to seasonal monsoon conditions frequently destroys a substantial amount of rice production, the most important agricultural activity of the country. Taking the 2001 monsoon flooding that hit the Lower Chi River Basin as an example, we developed a new method for accurately assessing damage to flood-affected paddies. A RADARSAT-1 image acquired during peak flooding was combined with a 30-m digital elevation model (DEM) to develop a 'flood-level-determination' algorithm for estimating floodwater depth. Based on the elongation capability of the rice varieties, a water depth of 80 cm was used to separate 'non-damaged' from 'damaged' paddy areas, indicating that about 60% of the paddy fields in the flooded areas were non-damaged paddies. To minimize the loss of rice and maximize farmers' incomes, a map of rice varieties appropriate for the damaged paddy areas was produced, combining the flood-affected paddy map with the flood frequency map. Our results demonstrate the potential of using single-date RADARSAT-1 data and a DEM to provide accurate and economic means of assessing flood damage to rice fields that can be used to improve rice production.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Graduate School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Tsukuba, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8572, Japan 2: Development Research Division, Japan International Research Centre for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8686, Japan 3: Prachinburi Rice Research Centre, Rice Research Institute, Department of Agriculture, Ban-Sang, Prachinburi 25150, Thailand

Publication date: October 1, 2008

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