In eastern Ukraine, there's a river nearby the town of Kharkiv. Our crowddroner Sergiy went to map the river because he wanted to focus on climate change-related issues in his hometown. Our vision, which we are very passionate about at GLOBHE, is to allow our Crowddroning community to benefit from our work, highlight their local challenges, and empower them to be an asset for positive change in their communities.
The Udy river is a right-bank tributary of the Donets River that flows for 164 km through Belgorod oblast and Kharkiv oblast and drains a basin area of 3,893 sq km. Its source is in the Central Upland, and it is fed by rain and meltwater.
Impacts of climate change make Ukraine increasingly vulnerable to droughts, high temperatures, heat waves, heavy precipitation, mudflows, and floods. The rapidly changing climate is causing less rainfall overall and affecting water discharge to feed the Udy river. This causes a decrease in the total runoff of the river (EGU 2022 conference abstract) and will ultimately lead to shortages in irrigation water for the local communities.
Floodplains around meandering rivers typically experience flooding during periods of high discharge. Depending on the geometry and extent of the floodplain, such flooding can cover large areas and be devastating for the nearby villages. Although floods can benefit agriculture as they bring new nutrients and sediments to the cultivated lands, they might also endure significant damage to material properties.
In the case of the Udy river, flooding is likely to happen during heavy rains. Rapid changes in precipitation can result in high-risk flooding scenarios. In Ukraine, river flood hazard is classified as high, with the potential for damaging and life-threatening river floods. The climate change and increasing temperatures are only exacerbating this problem as heavy rains might happen at anytime causing flash floods across the floodplains.
Due to the country’s high number and vast networks of rivers, catchments, and aquifers, changes in precipitation can result in high-risk flooding scenarios. In Ukraine, river flood hazard is classified as high, with the potential for damaging and life-threatening river floods.
Risk maps should be drafted to highlight the areas at risk, prevent material damage, and prepare the local communities before natural disasters happen to mitigate the effects of flooding. Such flood risk maps are constructed from high-resolution topographic maps that show the region's topography. From these maps, we can predict the rising water level and see precisely where the water would reach in case of a flood.
Topographic maps are essential tools to visualize the topography of a region. Contour lines can be constructed, and accordingly, high and low areas can be highlighted. We can create flood risk maps for any part and determine where the water will reach when the river water rises.
With climate change, the Udy river is also drying up, making the future water a scarce resource in this area. Dams can also be constructed along the river course to fight this phenomenon. These dams can capture water and reduce evaporation; they can also regulate flooding during periods of heavy rainfall. The topographic maps above are crucial to help plan dam construction projects to choose the location of dams.