Satellite data to track water productivity

28-04-2017 | |
Photo: Dreamstime
Photo: Dreamstime

Measuring how efficiently water is used in agriculture, particularly in water-scarce countries, is going high-tech with the help of a new tool developed by FAO.

The WaPOR open-access database has gone live, tapping satellite data to help farmers achieve more reliable agricultural yields and allowing for the optimisation of irrigation systems.

Learn more about future farming for crops at the Global Forum of Innovations for Agriculture (9-10 May, the Netherlands). All About Feed is part of the Proagrica Future Farming Theater. Sign up for free here.

WaPOR was presented this week during a high-level partners meeting for FAO’s Coping with water scarcity in agriculture: a global framework for action in a changing climate. It allows for fine-grained analysis of water utilised through farming systems, generating empirical evidence about how it can be most productively used.

Worldwide water utilisation – the majority of which is used by agriculture – has outpaced the rate of population growth for most of the last century and some regions are close to breaching viable limits.

The WaPOR tool is being developed in co-operation with a consortium of partners in the Netherlands – eLEAF, University of Twente, ITC and Waterwatch Foundation – as well as VITO in Belgium. The work plan anticipates developing apps that can be run on smart phones, enabling locally relevant use of the data from the spatial database.

Source: FAO

Emmy Koeleman Freelance editor