IWMI and DEA partner to support water management in Africa

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) and Digital Earth Africa (DEA) have partnered to develop tools and applications that will support water resource management and water security in Africa. The applications will use remote-sensing and machine learning technologies and will produce measurements that can improve the understanding of Africa’s changing landscape and provide African governments, communities, and companies with insights, knowledge, and analysis to make more informed and strategic decisions.  

IWMI and DEA will first develop an application for water accounting that can produce timely and quality information to better understand water use and availability, water risks, water quality, water values and efficiency, water allocations across different sectors, and the downstream implications of new irrigation schemes. IWMI will also develop tools for flood and drought mapping and early warning systems and will work with different partners to develop other water-related applications. These applications will use remote sensing and data management technologies and emergent tools related to the Internet of things (IoT), a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines that can transfer data over a network without requiring human interaction. These applications, which will be open and free to use, are part of the Open Data Cube (ODC), a software project by DEA. ODC uses Earth observation data and its applications for social benefits. It organizes data into an analysis-ready format that aim processing time and costs.

Monitoring water is crucial for water conservation and water security in Africa. However, to date, Africa is one of the most data-poor regions of the world. Satellites can be a valuable solution since they collect vast amounts of data over the continent every day. The partnership between IWMI and DEA aims at strengthening water management in Africa by providing tools and information about water resources that will benefit policy makers in making their decisions, and will increase commercial efficiency and economic growth for businesses and entrepreneurs across the continent.

IWMI is a non-profit, scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries. Its goal is to develop scalable agricultural water management solutions that have a real impact on poverty reduction, food security, and ecosystem health. IWMI is one of 23 UN-SPIDER regional support offices.

DEA is an open web platform for accessing and analyzing satellite imagery to track changes across Africa and provide information on Africa’s land and seas, including soil and coastal erosion, agriculture, forest and desert development, water quality, and changes to human settlements. It provides a series of free and open tools and applications for collecting and analyzing earth-observation data.