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Thematic overview

Water covers two thirds of our planet and stands as the paramount element for sustaining life. It plays a pivotal role in supporting our health, agriculture, industry, energy production, and the environment. Water also plays an essential role in numerous natural processes including the water cycle, which serves to regulate the Earth’s climate. However, it can also be the origin of severe disasters. Climate change and pollution contribute to the depletion of usable water, thereby increasing the risk of conflicts among those who depend on it. In summary, water is a finite resource that must be protected and managed carefully to ensure its availability for future generations. The successful implementation and monitoring of Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM), Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) and good water quality initiatives require access to reliable data and information on water related issues. The GDA AID Water Resources activity provides satellite Earth Observation information in response to requirements identified by International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and their client governments in developing countries, focusing on the following global water management themes.

Water Resources Themes

Water availability: Water availability refers to the amount of freshwater, both groundwater and surface water, that is accessible for human use and other needs, such as agriculture, industry, and ecosystem support. Many regions around the world are experiencing water scarcity due to a combination of factors such as climate change, inefficient water management and rapid population growth. It is important to address this issue by promoting water conservation, improving water management practices, and increasing investment in water infrastructure. Balancing water supply and demand is a key challenge in water management, particularly in regions with limited water resources.

Water quality: Water quality refers to the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of water that determine its suitability for a particular use or ecosystems. Water pollution is a major problem that can affect human health, aquatic ecosystems, and wildlife. It is important to strengthen water quality monitoring to support pollution reduction by implementing regulations and best practices for wastewater treatment, agricultural runoff, and industrial discharges.

Water governance: Effective water governance and integrated water resources management approaches are essential for managing this resource sustainably. This includes establishing clear policies and regulations, promoting stakeholder engagement, and ensuring that decision-making is based on sound scientific data. Overall, effective water governance and cross-boundary cooperation is critical for ensuring sustainable and equitable use of water resources and achieving the goals of sustainable development.

Water-related disasters: water-related disasters events such as floods and droughts can have devastating effects on communities and the environment. Facing altered climate conditions, it is important to build resilience to these events by implementing measures such as early warning systems, floodplain management, and drought preparedness to prevent or mitigate potential risks. This includes also monitoring of river and delta morphology, protecting and restoring natural water resources by preserving wetlands, river and stream habitats, and promoting sustainable land use practices that protect and recharge groundwater resources.

Discover our e-flyer for more information regarding services and products provided on these themes in response to requirements identified in the water domain by IFIs and their Client Countries:

Supported IFI initiatives

1. The Emergency Water Security and Efficiency Project for Botswana (funded by World Bank)
Use Case: Groundwater monitoring and flood hazard assessment based on Earth Observation to improve the identification of hotspots of risk in water scarce areas and strengthen the design of policies  to strengthen water  security in Botswana.
2. Remote Sensing for Lake Victoria Water Quality Management (linked to the Advisory Services and Analytical work (ASA) by World Bank)
Use Case: Satellite technology is utilized to monitor Lake Victoria’s characteristics like chlorophyll, turbidity, sediments, and water temperature combined with catchment related information. This data enhances an understanding of the regional and local context and the impact of infrastructure and sanitation projects.
3. PK-Balochistan Integrated Water Resources Management & Development Project in Pakistan
(funded by World Bank)
Use Case: Tracking sediment transport for scientific research and modelling, aiding infrastructure development and management strategies in Balochistan, Pakistan using Earth Observation support. Additionally, examining hydrological modelling and long-term drought impacts on rangelands.
4. Georgia Resilient Agriculture, Irrigation, and Land Project
(funded by World Bank)
Use Case: Utilizing Earth Observation for flood detection and mapping, sediment analysis, water quality assessments, and understanding climate change’s impact on discharge assessments.
5. Timor-Leste Water Harvesting and Agriculture Value Chains Improvement Sector Project
(funded by ADB)
Use Case: Country-wide detection of surface water extent and variations with EO data to support decision-making and improve water management.
6. PIDACC Zambezi – Regional (ZAMCOM) Project (SAP code P-Z1-C00-096, Grant No 2100155042274)
(funded by AfDB/CIF)
Use Case: Centered on funding nature-based solutions to address climate change threats, the team contributes to the integration of water quality and Earth Observation (EO)-based discharge data into the established data platform of the Zambezi River Basin Commission (ZAMCOM).
7. Integrated Water Resources Management in Ten Basins project (P151851) in Peru
(funded by World Bank)
Use Case: The team supports sediment analysis for the Poechos reservoir in Northern Peru. By combining satellite-derived turbidity data with in-situ discharge information and modeling, they aim to provide a valuable estimation of the reservoir’s lifespan. This approach integrates remote sensing with ground-level data for informed decision-making in sustainable water resource management.
8. Valorization of Investments in the Valley of the Benue project (P166072) in Cameroon
(funded by World Bank)
Use Case: As the project revolves around sustainable irrigation, infrastructure improvement, and enhanced water management, the team provides sediment analysis for a lifetime assessment, using modeled discharge and Earth Observation-based sediment concentrations.

Consortium Members