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Utilizing Geospatial Tools to Assign Unique Identifiers to Water Bodies in a Low-Income Country

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Document pages: 18 pages

Abstract: Inland waters support the growth of several sectors including mining, agriculture, and health. This makes it crucial to have sustainable quantity and quality through conservation practices. Achieving sustainability requires information on the spatial distribution of water bodies. This requirement is particularly critical in low-income nations where dependence on natural resources is a key driver to economic growth. Unfortunately, these nations lack the resources to promote costly waterbody characterization. This study pre-sents a cost-effective approach in assigning Unique Identifiers (UIDs) that define locations and characteristics of rivers and streams. Our objective is to develop a scheme that can be used to identify and characterize rivers and streams in a nation. We utilized an open-source Digital Elevation Model (DEM) of NASA’s ASTER satellite and the hydrology tool in ArcGIS 10.7.1. The DEM was imported to ArcGIS followed by delineation of hydrologic regions, subregions, and stream orders. Each stream segment was given a UID based on its region and Strahler’s stream order system. We present a case study analysis for two regions within Sierra Leone using water quality data of selected rivers and streams. These will lay the foundation for a nationwide coding exercise and provide a useful reference for water resource practitioners.

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