GAF AG, an international geo-information technology company, has been awarded a contract by the Worldbank to set-up a “Satellite Imagery and Data Analysis Study along with required Ground Truth Work and Meteorological Monitoring” to support the “Sana’a Basin Water Management Project” (SBWMP). The project aims to assist the Government of Yemen in slowing down depletion of groundwater in the Sana’a Basin aquifer and to gain time to convert the Sana’a Basin economy to less water-intensive activities and encourage out-migration.
The whole project is designed in three phases, each of about five years. Phase I is designed to test ‘best practice’ technologies and approaches for demand and supply management, as well as institutional arrangements. The key issue of the project is to increase the usable live of the aquifers of the Sana’a Basin – thereby postponing long-distance high-lift import of water and allowing time for a shift to a less water-based economy.
Due to the conversion from dry farming into irrigation practice the agricultural sector is nowadays mainly responsible for the extensive groundwater mining throughout the basin area. For the management of the groundwater resources it is therefore required to obtain an up-to-date map of the irrigated crops cultivated in the Sana’a Basin and to get knowledge on the acreage of qat and other cash crops. In addition the crop evapo-transpiration in the Sana’a Basin will be estimated more accurately reflecting the local irrigation practices. The other prioritized activity of this project is to identify possible recharge enhancement areas in the Sana’a Basin because the hydro-geological information as well as hydrological monitoring data is quite limited.