Using remote sensing to track water productivity


Using remote sensing to track water productivity

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has developed a publicly accessible near real time database (WaPOR) using satellite data that allows monitoring of agricultural water productivity.

The WaPOR monitors and reports on agriculture water productivity over Africa and the Near East. The database uses satellite data to help farmers achieve more reliable agricultural yields.

This tool provides open access to the water database over underlying maps - the tool allows quering of data; time series analyses, area statistics related to water and land use assessments.

The database searches through satellite data and its computation-intensive calculations are powered by Google Earth Engine.

Maps retrieved via this database can be viewed at resoultions of 30 to 250 meters and are updated every 1 to 10 days. The beta version of the database was released at a recent high-level partners meeting held in FAO.

The platform interface

Currently, the database uses the map interface and users can query datasets. The following datasets are already available and searcheable - Gross Biomass Water Productivity, Net Biomass Water Productivity, Actual EvapoTranspiration, Above Ground Biomass Production, Transpiration, Actual EvapoTranspiration (Dekadal), Transpiration Fraction, Reference EvapoTranspiration, Tramspiration Fraction, Reference EvapoTranspiration, Net Primary Production, and Precipitation.

Click below then search or browse these datasets. Selected country-level data will be made available in due course.

WaPOR was developed by FAO's teams - Information Technology and Land & Water Officers through a $10 million project funded by the Government of the Netherlands to cover Africa and the Near East.

The tool was developed in cooperation 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.

Adapted from the following sources

  1. FAO.Using real-time satellite data to track water productivity in agriculture.
  2. FAO.Coping with water scarcity in agriculture: a global framework for action in a changing climate.


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