WaPOR, remote sensing for water productivity

WaPOR allows measuring water productivity in agriculture

Water productivity is defined as the quantity or value of output in relation to the quantity of water beneficially consumed to produce this output. In agriculture, it can be expressed as the amount of product (biomass or yield) per unit of water consumed by the crop (evapotranspiration).

For example, this map (100 m ground resolution) shows the water productivity of the Gezira scheme in Sudan:

The yellow-green patches in this map are considered to have high water productivity, with low amounts of water consumed per crop produced. Indeed, they represent fields that yield at least 1 kilogram of product for every cubic metre of water consumed (1 m³ = 1000 l).

The orange-red fields are comparatively underperforming, as they are considered to have low water productivity that may be due to a combination of limited access to water and sub-optimal agronomic practices.

In order to improve red areas on the map, green areas can be analysed and referenced as successful sustainable practices that could be scaled up.

Spatial variation of water productivity supports more efficient targeting of interventions. In other words, with WaPOR it is possible to assess, for example, how many kilograms of wheat can be produced with 1 cubic metre of water in a given area, with the current conditions. It can also be used to set locally relevant targets for increasing efficient use of inputs.