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EO Clinic: Surface Water Mapping in Kazakhstan



EO Clinic support requested by: Asian Development Bank (ADB), Kazakhstan Resident Mission (KARM)
Requesting activity: Republic of Kazakhstan: Mobilizing finance to help achieving Sustainable Development Goals
Requesting activity type: Knowledge and Support Technical Assistance (KSTA)

EO Clinic relevant Thematic Groups: TG10 (Water Resources Management)

Work Order number: EOC0003
Work Order status: Completed
Work Order start: 2019 Dec 17
Work Order end: 2020 Apr 15


ADB is supporting the government of Kazakhstan in creating a platform among development partners and mobilising finance to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Kazakhstan’s commitment to realising the 2030 SDG Agenda is in line with the country’s aspirations to improve people’s quality of life as envisioned in the 2025 Strategic Development Plan as well as in the Kazakhstan 2050 Strategy.
The requesting KSTA is aligned with key operational priorities of Strategy 2030 of ADB by mainstreaming the use of high-level technologies in Developing Member Countries (DMC). The KSTA is also fully aligned with the country partnership strategy for Kazakhstan, 2017–2021, which highlights ADB’s role in assisting with managing the social impact of technology solutions in areas such as municipal services, e-commerce, agri-business, green economy, and finance.
National Sustainable Development Strategies (NSDS) are based on several sustainable goals, including SDG 11 – “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe resilient and sustainable”. The city of Nur-Sultan and surrounding areas are affected by river floods. In September 2019 ADB in partnership with ESA agreed to provide technical support to KGS (Kazakhstan Gharysh Sapary) to improve flood simulation and calculation of water volume in reservoirs for the Nura and the Ishim river basins. KGS is the state-owned space entity that has been appointed by the Committee on Water Resources of the Ministry of Ecology, Geology and Natural Resources and by the Committee for Emergency Situations of the Ministry of Internal Affairs to provide solutions to mitigate flood-related hazards and risks.

Problems to be Addressed and Geospatial Information Gaps

The technical approach that is being discussed by the stakeholders for solutions to mitigate the flood-related issues is quite comprehensive. It implies the use of EO, in-situ observations and hydraulic modelling, in order to predict flood scenarios, and how water levels will evolve during certain rainfall regimes. In the end there is a need to develop a model prototype with the following parameters: water velocity and flow directions, and predicted areas of flooding. However, the scope of the foreseen support may be divided in different phases and modules. The scope of the present request is limited to demonstrate some baseline products and trend analysis through the use of optical and SAR data to map water body extents and monitor their evolution in time, as well as the use of radar altimetry to monitor surface water levels. The users would like to understand better the advantages and limitations of the EO-based datasets that could contribute to the water balance and flood risk modelling, in particular when confronted with information layers they might have from other sources. Visualising multitemporal data via a geoportal is also required, as well as presenting cost estimates for multi-annual service provision.

Information Services to be Delivered

  • Service 1: Inventory of Water Bodies and Associated Dynamics
  • Service 2: Virtual Water Level Monitoring Stations
  • Service 3: Estimates of Total Water Volumes

Project Documents


Sustainable Development
Prime contractor