Making sense of the Water value chain in Australia
Shortages of freshwater will be one of the most pressing problems in feeding the world this century. To optimize use of available water it is important to distribute it wisely across the planet. WaterSENSE provides water managers with a toolbox of reliable and actionable information on water availability and water use, anywhere in the world, in support of sustainable water management and transparency across the entire water value chain. The goal of WaterSENSE is to develop a modular, operational, water-monitoring system built on Copernicus Earth observation data.
The WaterSENSE Project
The world faces a rapid and unprecedented change in water availability during the current century. The past few decades have shown that current climate change is resulting in more frequent extreme weather, with excessive floods and droughts and, more importantly, shifts of climate zones. These, in turn, are leading to historically favorable locations for agriculture sometimes being transformed into devastatingly dry areas. Meanwhile, global population increase is resulting in vulnerable water resources becoming depleted in many locations.
Shortages of freshwater will be one of the most pressing problems in feeding the world this century. To optimize use of available water it is important to distribute it wisely over the various competing interests, in particular agriculture, which is responsible for 70% of all freshwater use. Irrigation is currently often unsustainable, while groundwater reserves are becoming depleted and many places in the world are suffering water shortages.
Action is therefore required now to use space and in-situ monitoring systems, to create a better sense of water availability and optimize use across the planet.
WaterSENSE will provide water-availability and mapping services for any place in the world at different time and space resolutions, based on integrated Copernicus data, hydrological models; and local data.
WaterSENSE will deliver essential value-added services of monitoring compliance of local water use against water rights and regulations: water auditing. The first application is in the multi-climate Murray-Darling Basin in Australia, followed by validation in South Africa and the Netherlands.
Novel research in the project focuses on scalable information services, based on satellite water monitoring, advanced big-data processing algorithms, to determine variables such as evapotranspiration, irrigation water use, rainfall and soil moisture, as well as machine learning to allow automatic data processing and reduce uncertainty in the hydrological variables determined.
WaterSense Consortium Partners
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme (H2020-SPACE-2018-2020) under grant agreement No. 870344.