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Compliance monitoring using satellite imagery

Satellite imagery plays a very important role when supporting compliance activities, providing a snapshot of the broad landscape, which repeats regularly and provides consistent information over scales as large as the Murray-Darling Basin. It allows investigation into how river flows behave, both historically and currently.

In April, May and June 2018 a large-scale environmental watering event occurred known as the Northern Connectivity Event. This flow coincided with a temporary ban on water extractions along the Barwon-Darling to help ensure the flow met the environmental aims for which it was intended.

This flow event provided an opportunity to test the use of free, open and publicly available satellite imagery to track the flow and measure its behaviour as it progressed, building on previous work and looking particularly for any sudden and significant impacts to the flow that could indicate a compliance issue for further investigation.

This report outlines how the MDBA used the imagery for this purpose, details the analysis methods developed and presents the results. It highlights that satellite imagery has an important role to play when supporting compliance activities, and is an important part of ongoing work in collaboration with partner Agencies for use across the Basin.


A case study for compliance monitoring using satellite imagery: The Northern Connectivity Event