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Satellites Help Locate Water In Niger

ScienceDaily (Jan. 21, 2009)

Satellites Help Locate Water In Niger

ScienceDaily (Jan. 21, 2009)

Like most sub-Saharan African countries, Niger faces problems meeting its water needs. As part of ESA’s TIGER initiative, satellite data are being used to identify underground water resources in the drought-prone country.

Due to the rainfall variability in time and in space, during recent years the rain-fed agriculture struggles to meet the requirements of food security in the Sahel area.

ESA’s WADE (Water resources Assessment using SAR in Desert and arid lands in West African Ecosystems) project, funded by the Data User Element (DUE), uses ERS and Envisat Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery to map and monitor the location and extent of surface water bodies and to identify potential areas for water infiltration.

Having access to these maps will help local water authorities to better manage their water resources, lead livestock to water and improve their water storage capacity.

The Advanced Computer Systems (ACS spa) in Rome, Italy, developed the WADE processing system in conjunction with local users, represented by AGRHYMET (the Regional Centre of the Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel).

To demonstrate the technology, ERS and Envisat SAR data from 1993 to 2007 were integrated with in-situ data over an area of about 100 000 km² in the west part of Niger. Based on these data, a water body classification map was generated for each year. Results have been validated against 90 sampling points collected in the field by AGRHYMET during summer 2007 and showed an overall accuracy of 100% for permanent water bodies and above 75% for semi-permanent water bodies.

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Page publiée le 24 juin 2009, mise à jour le 2 août 2014