Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

Degree Level





Mohamed Aly

Committee Member

Ralph Davis

Second Committee Member

David Stahle


Drought in Texas and California has been a long-term problem. Over the past 60 years reservoir construction has occurred to remedy the situation. Satellite imagery has been used historically to measure and monitor fluctuations in surface water reservoirs. This investigation integrates remote sensing and geographic information system (GIS) technologies to study the impact of drought on selected surface water reservoirs in San Angelo and Dallas in Texas, and Lake Oroville in California. Expansion and shrinkage over the 2005-2016 period reveal the concrete impact that drought, along with other factors, have on the selected lakes. Fluctuations in reservoir sizes during summer and winter months throughout this period are quantified. Changes in the reservoirs are characterized and correlated against local climate data for each reservoir using multispectral imageries from Landsat-5, -7, and -8. A GIS-based density slicing approach is employed to classify the range of values of the raster cells from the near-infrared band of each image into zones of natural breaks. The year-by-year analysis shows how each lake is behaving in a diverse fashion during the study period. The San Angelo lakes changed drastically; however, changes in lakes near Dallas and also Lake Oroville follow the pattern of drought and correlate more closely to their respective local climate conditions. Surprisingly, the extreme drought in San Angelo has caused several of small lakes to disappear and they’re no longer used as fishing and boating destinations. This study demonstrates the societal benefits from incorporating remote sensing and GIS to investigate geo-environmental problems.