A TIGER initiative offer to make ESA satellite data available for monitoring African water resources sparked an enthusiastic take-up by researchers across the continent and beyond it. Some 95 proposals have been received, 65 of which are accepted for discussion during next week’s annual TIGER Workshop in Pretoria, South Africa.
The 8 to 10 November TIGER 2004 Workshop is being jointly organized by ESA and the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) along with South Africa’s Council for Scientific and Industrial Research and its Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF). Some 150 participants are expected to attend, a hundred from African countries representing both water users and information providers.
ESA’s TIGER Initiative is all about generating sustainable Earth Observation services for integrated water resources management in developing nations, its main focus on Africa.
The responses span the African continent as well as various stages of the water cycle. One proposal from Burkina Faso is to combine radar and multispectral imagery from Envisat as well as data from ERS and Japan’s past JERS-1 satellites to guide well diggers to sites most likely to yield underground water. Regional deforestation will also be observed. In Sudan one proposal is to use Earth Observation to improve the effectiveness of ‘water harvesting’ from wadis – shallow desert river courses – in the country’s Red Sea Hills, while another team seeks to develop flood forecasting and early warning system for the Gash River, shared between Sudan, Eritrea and Ethiopia, and prone to burst its banks once every five years.
Major changes that have occurred in wetland environments in Senegal, Chad and Liberia during the last few decades are identified using satellite data in order to establish recommendations for their sustainable management. And satellite-based watershed management maps for Thukela in South Africa and Pangani in Tanzania are to be created in order to better optimise agricultural water use.