Satellite imagery to help the African water project Geo-Aquifer

Satellite imagery to help the African water project Geo-Aquifer

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Tunis, 8 June 2007: Algeria, Libya and Tunisia have kicked off an ambitious water project called GEO-AQUIFER that will use satellite imagery to support the monitoring and sustainable management of their common, trans-boundary groundwater resources.

Recognising the overexploitation of the shared resource called the North-Western Sahara Aquifer System (SASS, after its French acronym), these three countries initiated together with the Sahara and Sahel Observatory (OSS) a consultation mechanism at ministerial level. This consultation depends on objective, timely, area-wide and consistent information.

GEO-AQUIFER will use products and services based on satellite data, such as land-use and land-cover maps, change maps, surface water extent and dynamics, digital terrain models, and derive information on water consumption for irrigation.

The project is co-funded by OSS and the African Water Facility (AWF), which is managed by the African Development Bank (AfDB). OSS, is the executive agency for the project, key partners are the national water ministries. ESA is involved as member of the steering committee. It has a lifetime of 18 months, with final results being planned for late 2008.

The Aquifer project was developed under ESA’s Data User Element (DUE) programme in 2004 and takes place as part of the TIGER Initiative, aimed at applying EO data to develop a technical, human and institutional capacity to bridge Africa’s water information gap using satellite data.