The large watersheds of South America, the Amazon and Paraná, play an important role in controlling the world's climate and maintaining biodiversity. AMSudSAT aims to monitor and forecast water flows with change analysis, extreme event monitoring and dam management. A software platform will provide decision support services for local stakeholders.

Study of South American watersheds and their impact on global climate change


A first project, Hydrosim, validated the joint use of in-situ and spatial data (radar optics and altimetry) and data from modelling for monitoring water quantity and quality in two pilot sub-basins of the Amazon (Madeira and Tapajos) and also proposed a platform for hosting all the products. We propose to extend this approach to the Amazon basin according to the needs identified by the end-users and to explore the needs and actions in Paraná.

The objective of this SCO project, AMSudSAT, is therefore to have a monitoring of the quantity and quality of water in the Amazon basin at the disposal of the Brazilian water agency ANA, with a real decision-making tool to observe and evaluate the water resource in the basin. The outputs of the workshops with local stakeholders will make it possible to specify the operational services adapted to their needs with an associated economic model.

The development of these downstream services will be more substantial and will be the subject of a separate project


The project will consist of 4 phases:

  1. Definition of the requirements specifications of the services to be developed and integrated via the platform with the ANA (Brazilian National Water Agency).

We can already note the needs identified by the ANA: (1) Flood forecasting (5 to 10 day forecasting service) and low water levels (based on the forecast of flows and flooded areas), in particular in cross-border regions; (2) Support for the management of hydroelectric facilities (via knowledge of the volume stored and the forecast of flows and flows of suspended matter); (3) Services linked to water quality (pollution/irrigation, biodiversity impact).

  1. Production of data for the entire Amazon basin:
  • Monitoring of the main hydrological variables
    • Water quality (suspended matter, turbidity) from MODIS and Sentinel3 data in conjunction with HydroSat piloted by ANA and IRD.
    • Altimetry data from Hydroweb with audit and expertise on processing at strategic hydrological points and densification of stations.
    • Monitoring of water surfaces and flooded areas by SAR / optical and L-band GSWAF (Global SMOS Water Fraction) and SWAF-HR (High resolution)
  • Forecasting via modelling
    • SWAT over the Amazon basin for forecasting and managing different water stocks (especially those in open waters), water flows and sediment flows.
    • GR5J for flow estimation.
  • Validation: data will be validated in collaboration with ANA, using also data from the National Observation Service HyBam (Amazon Basin Hydrology) and involving if necessary other Brazilian actors in charge of field data (CPRM)
  • Addition of other local data at the request of ANA (socio-economic data, land use, infrastructure, etc.).
  1. Updating the platform with all the processed and in-situ data on the Amazon basin with data analysis capacity (hydrological chronicles, synoptic sheets, library, map library, photo library, indicators, comparisons, etc.) and in coherence with the needs of the ANA and already existing tools. Based on free and open-source technologies this platform developed under WIMES (Water Information Management Ecosystem & Services) by BRLi allows for great scalability, a capacity to manage Big Data, interoperability with other systems (API Rest, etc.), the integration of codes and software from the water and environment professions (R scripts, hydrological and hydraulic models), and high performance calculations.
  2. Capacity building of local stakeholders will be necessary, involving the setting up of workshops and training courses. This stage will also be an opportunity to identify a work plan for Paraná, in which the Paraguayan government has already shown an interest.


The AMSudSat project will also involve Paraguay, to identify a work plan for the Paraná river basin and the transfer of the methodology and hydrological modelling tools as a starting point. Moreover, as 100% of Paraguay's electricity production is generated by the Itaipu dam, the country needs to know how much water is stored in neighboring countries: AMSudSat will propose indicators for monitoring hydroelectric dam.

◀︎ Flowing from the Brazilian highlands towards Argentina, passing through Paraguay here, before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean, the Paraná River is the third largest river system in the world. 2022, Copernicus Sentinel Imagery, processed by SnapPlanet

Territories for experimentation

  • Territory 1: Amazon Basin, Brazil Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, France, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, Venezuela
  • Territory 2: Parana, Paraguay



  • Copernicus Sentinel-1 (via PEPS and THEIA)
  • Copernicus Sentinel-2 (via PEPS and THEIA)
  • Altimétrie (Hydroweb/THEIA)
  • MODIS/Sentinel-3
  • GPM
  • Copernicus products


  • Meteorological data: GFS global model, ECMWF ECMWF as well as INMET national data (COSMO and MBAR) and TRMM 3B42 and ERA-Interim data for climate analyses
  • In situ hydro and rainfall networks of ANA and the national observation service HyBam (integrated in the OZCAR research infrastructure)

Results – Final products

A platform will bring together all the deliverables:

  • Spatial observation data (altimetry, monitoring of water surfaces, flooded surfaces, precipitation, water quality, etc.) and in-situ data
  • Hydrological monitoring of basins and indicators for monitoring extreme events, change analysis and hydrological impact
  • Outputs of water stocks, flows and sediment fluxes in target basins over long periods and/or target periods in relation to extreme events
  • Focus on hydroelectric dams with monitoring indicators. 100% of Paraguay's electricity production is produced by the Itaipu dam and there is a need to know the quantities of water retained in the bordering countries.
  • Capacity building of local actors through workshops and training


  • Guilhen, J., Al Bitar, A., Sauvage, S., Parrens, M., Martinez, J. M., Abril, G., Moireira-Turcq, P, & Sánchez-Pérez, J. M. (2020). Denitrification and associated nitrous oxide and carbon dioxide emissions from the Amazonian wetlands. Biogeosciences,17(16), 4297-4311. Read
  • Guilhen, J., Parrens, M., Mercier, F., Al Bitar, A., Sánchez-Pérez, J. M., Santini, W., & Sauvage, S. (2021, July). Daily Estimation of Inland Water Storage in the Madeira Basin During the Last Twenty Years (1998–2018). In 2021 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium IGARSS (pp. 6040-6043). IEEE. Read
  • Guilhen, J., Parrens, M., Sauvage, S., Santini, W., Mercier, F., Al Bitar, A., Fabre, C., Martinez, J.M., & Sánchez-Pérez, J. M. Madeira floodplain dynamics estimated by hydrological modelling and earth observation data. (Submitted).  Frontiers in Water. 
  • IEMSS Sept 2020, Coupling in-situ, remote sensing and modelling tools to enhance water resources assessment over large-scale watersheds: the case of the Madeira Basin (Brazil). iEMSs - 2020 Conference
  • IGARSS July 2021 : Daily Estimation of Inland Water Storage in the Madeira Basin During the Last Twenty Years (1998–2018). In 2021 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium IGARSS (pp. 6040-6043). IEEE. IEEE IGARSS 2021 || Brussels, Belgium || July 11 – 16, 2021 
  • AGU December 2021  : Surface water storage in the floodplains of the Amazon Basin during the last twenty years (1998 – 2018).AGU Fall Meeting 2021 

Related project

Hydrosim : this first project made it possible to centralize the various data available on a single platform, whether they were onsite measurements, spatial measurements or data from the models used. The monitoring of water quantity and quality was thus able to be carried out on 2 main basins of the Amazon (Madeira and Tapajos).


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