How satellite images could improve water management in Africa

Source(s)
Devex

By Sarah Jerving

Climate change is expected to increase water scarcity in Africa. Already, 1 in 3 people in Africa face water scarcity and about 400 million lack access to safe drinking water.

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Satellite imagery offers a potential solution for better management. A new partnership launched on Thursday between IWMI and Digital Earth Africa aims to create easy to interpret data sets for governments, and others, to make more informed decisions about how to allocate water. The $3 million partnership is funded by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust and is expected to run for three years.

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Earth observation satellites are routinely collecting data on the continent, through agencies such as the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration or the European Space Agency, including data on water resources.

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But accessing that data is not always easy, Rex said. This includes a lack of widespread awareness of the datasets that already exist within governments across the African continent, as well as the technical challenges around downloading and processing the data, he said. Even when the images are free, they become relatively expensive to clean up.

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