Drought in Luvuvhu River Catchment - South Africa: Assessment, Characterisation and Prediction

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dc.contributor.advisor Chikoore, H.
dc.contributor.advisor Sigauke, C.
dc.contributor.advisor Odiyo, J. O.
dc.contributor.author Mathivha, Fhumulani Innocentia
dc.date 2020
dc.date.accessioned 2020-09-23T07:31:27Z
dc.date.available 2020-09-23T07:31:27Z
dc.date.issued 2020-09
dc.identifier.citation Mathivha, Fhumulani Innocentia (2020) Drought in Luvuvhu River Catchment - South Africa: Assessment, Characterisation and Prediction. University of Venda, South Africa.<http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1522>.
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11602/1522
dc.description PhDH en_ZA
dc.description Department of Hydrology and Water Resources
dc.description.abstract Demand for water resources has been on the increase and is compounded by population growth and related development demands. Thus, numerous sectors are affected by water scarcity and therefore effective management of drought-induced water deficit is of importance. Luvuvhu River Catchment (LRC), a tributary of the Limpopo River Basin in South Africa has witnessed an increasing frequency of drought events over the recent decades. Drought impacts negatively on communities’ livelihoods, development, economy, water resources, and agricultural yields. Drought assessment in terms of frequency and severity using Drought Indices (DI) in different parts of the world has been reported. However, the forecasting and prediction component which is significant in drought preparedness and setting up early warning systems is still inadequate in several regions of the world. This study aimed at characterising, assessing, and predicting drought conditions using DI as a drought quantifying parameter in the LRC. This was achieved through the application of hybrid statistical and machine learning models including predictions via a combination of hybrid models. Rainfall and temperature data were obtained from South African Weather Service, evapotranspiration, streamflow, and reservoir storage data were obtained from the Department of Water and Sanitation while root zone soil moisture data was derived from the NASA earth data Giovanni repository. The Standardised Precipitation Index (SPI), Standardised Precipitation Evapotranspiration Index (SPEI), Standardised Streamflow Index (SSI), and Nonlinear Aggregated Drought Index (NADI) were selected to assess and characterise drought conditions in the LRC. SPI is precipitation based, SPEI is precipitation and evapotranspiration based, SSI is based on streamflow while NADI is a multivariate index based on rainfall, potential evapotranspiration, streamflow, and storage reservoir volume. All indices detected major historical drought events that have occurred and reported over the study area, although the precipitation based indices were the only indices that categorised the 1991/1992 drought as extreme at 6- and 12- month timescales while the streamflow index and multivariate NADI underestimated the event. The most recent 2014/16 drought was also categorised to be extreme by the standardised indices. The study found that the multivariate index underestimates most historical drought events in the catchment. The indices further showed that the most prevalent drought events in the LRC were mild drought. Extreme drought events were the least found at 6.42%, 1.08%, 1.56%, and 4.4% for SPI, SPEI, SSI, and NADI, respectively. Standardised indices and NADI showed negative trends and positive upward trends, respectively. The positive trend showed by NADI depicts a decreased drought severity over the study period. Drought events were characterised based on duration, intensity, severity, and frequency of drought events for each decade of the 30 years considered in this study i.e. between 1986 – 1996, 1996 – 2006, 2006 – 2016. This was done to get finer details of how drought characteristics behaved at a 10-year interval over the study period. An increased drought duration was observed between 1986 - 1996 while the shortest duration was observed between 1996 - 2006 followed by 2006 - 2016. NADI showed an overall lowest catchment duration at 1- month timescale compared to the standardised indices. The relationship between drought severity and duration revealed a strong linear relationship across all indices at all timescales (i.e. an R2 of between 0.6353 and 0.9714, 0.6353 and 0.973, 0.2725 and 0.976 at 1-, 6- and 12- month timescales, respectively). In assessing the overall utilisation of an index, the five decision criteria (robustness, tractability, transparency, sophistication, and extendibility) were assigned a raw score of between one and five. The sum of the weighted scores (i.e. raw scores multiplied by the relative importance factor) was the total for each index. SPEI ranked the highest with a total weight score of 129 followed by the SSI with a score of 125 and then the SPI with a score of 106 while NADI scored the lowest with a weight of 84. Since SPEI ranked the highest of all the four indices evaluated, it is regarded as an index that best describes drought conditions in the LRC and was therefore used in drought prediction. Statistical (GAM-Generalised Additive Models) and machine learning (LSTM-Long Short Term Memory) based techniques were used for drought prediction. The dependent variables were decomposed using Ensemble Empirical Mode Decomposition (EEMD). Model inputs were determined using the gradient boosting, and all variables showing some relative off importance were considered to influence the target values. Rain, temperature, non-linear trend, SPEI at lag1, and 2 were found to be important in predicting SPEI and the IMFs (Intrinsic Mode Functions) at 1, 6- and 12- month timescales. Seven models were applied based on the different learning techniques using the SPEI time series at all timescales. Prediction combinations of GAM performed better at 1- and 6- month timescales while at 12- month, an undecomposed GAM outperformed the decomposition and the combination of predictions with a correlation coefficient of 0.9591. The study also found that the correlation between target values, LSTM, and LSTM-fQRA was the same at 0.9997 at 1- month and 0.9996 at 6- and 12- month timescales. Further statistical evaluations showed that LSTM-fQRA was the better model compared to an undecomposed LSTM (i.e. RMSE of 0.0199 for LSTM-fQRA over 0.0241 for LSTM). The best performing GAM and LSTM based models were used to conduct uncertainty analysis, which was based on the prediction interval. The PICP and PINAW results indicated that LSTM-fQRA was the best model to predict SPEI timeseries at all timescales. The conclusions drawn from drought predictions conducted in this study are that machine learning neural networks are better suited to predict drought conditions in the LRC, while for improved model accuracy, time series decomposition and prediction combinations are also implementable. The applied hybrid machine learning models can be used for operational drought forecasting and further be incorporated into existing early warning systems for drought risk assessment and management in the LRC for better water resources management. Keywords: Decomposition, drought, drought indices, early warning system, frequency, machine learning, prediction intervals, severity, water resources. en_ZA
dc.description.sponsorship NRF en_ZA
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xix, 210 leaves : color illustrations, color maps)
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.rights University of Venda
dc.subject Decomposition en_ZA
dc.subject Drought en_ZA
dc.subject Drought indices en_ZA
dc.subject Early warning system en_ZA
dc.subject Frequency en_ZA
dc.subject Machine learning en_ZA
dc.subject Prediction intervals en_ZA
dc.subject Severity en_ZA
dc.subject Water resources en_ZA
dc.subject.ddc 363.349290968257
dc.subject.lcsh Droughts -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Weather -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Watersheds -- South Africa -- Limpopo
dc.subject.lcsh Luvuvhu River Watershed (South Africa)
dc.title Drought in Luvuvhu River Catchment - South Africa: Assessment, Characterisation and Prediction en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA

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