Skip to main content

Application of space techniques to the integrated management of a river basin water resources

Exploitable results

ASTIMwR began in early 1997 from the joint effort of eight European organisations and companies, with the objective of providing water managers with truly operational applications based on Earth observation (EO) data. The end users of the ASTIMR project are managers of areas of very different size: 55412 km{2} in Spain (Spanish part of the Guadiana river basin); 11600 km{2} in Portugal (Portuguese part of the Guadiana river basin) and 307 km{2} (left side of the Sele river basin) in Italy. At all these levels water managers need to know where, when, how, how much, and by whom water is used. Indeed, only by having access to reliable information on the distribution of demand and consumption in time and space is it possible to define a satisfactory water allocation policy and to plan future actions. Currently available EO data and techniques offer opportunities for the routine use of EO in the water industry sector, but the complexity of the software tools needed to handle such data discourage water managers. They request vertical products, with few basic functionalities, tailored to the routine water problems and easy to use by their technicians. Water managers ask for easy-to-use work tools that help to generate useful information from satellite data and ancillary data (tables and maps). Thus, the ASTIMwR Project has worked on implementing a vertical computer application having a simple user-oriented interface (user menus) and addressing with EO data significant water management issues. The ASTIMwR system is composed of four independent modules that handle the following subjects: monitoring of groundwater extraction, irrigation performance monitoring, monitoring of wetlands evolution and evapotranspiration mapping. The ASTIMwR application is a pilot system. This means that it is expected to open the way to further developments and upgrades, for operational use of remote sensing in water management. Indeed, to allow the users to feed the system with up-dated data after the end of the project, the technical specifications for the data needed to generate information have been carefully defined. The modular structure of ASTIMwR will enable customising and up-grade according to the requirements specific to water managers in other river basins.