The Prize organizes the bi-annual International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management in conjunction with the United Nations and other international agencies. The 3rd conference will be held in 2013 in an Asian country yet to be specified, and the 4th will be held in 2015 in an African country.
The Prize is also a permanent observing member of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), where it focuses on the application of space technologies to water-related concerns.
United Nations / Argentina / PSIPW / ESA
2nd International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management
Argentine Space Agency (ASA)
14-18 March 2011, Buenos Aires, Argentina
at the facilities of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Goals of the Conference:
The 2nd International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management, organized by the UN Programme on Space Applications in cooperation with European Space Agency (ESA) and Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW), was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, from 14 to 18 March 2011. The meeting was hosted by the Comisión Nacional de Actividades Espaciales (CONAE) on behalf of the Government of Argentina.
As a successor to the conference held in 2008 in Saudi Arabia, the conference furthered discussions on how space technology can be applied to more effectively manage the world's water resources.
Space technologies, including satellite remote sensing technology in particular, have demonstrated proven capabilities in meeting challenges of water resource management, as rapid population growth and development pressures continue to impose additional stresses on scarce resources. Continuous Earth observations from space are crucial to manage water resources for the benefit of mankind and the environment, as well as to provide important forecasting services to prevent water-related disasters such as floods and droughts.
Remote sensing satellites provide data on several key water-related variables (for example, rainfall, precipitations, water storage, soil moisture and evaporation) using spatial and temporal scales that are appropriate for reliable assessment. A satellite-based approach to assessment and management of water resources is especially important in countries and regions of the world where adequate hydrological networks do not exist.
Earth observation from space, complimented with other applications, is a cost-effective method for effective management of resources and providing essential data to decision- makers. Once converted into practical information, these data on water resources provided by satellites could be used to formulate policy and implement programmes at the national, regional and international levels, including those of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and other entities of the United Nations system.
The Conference addressed these issues, and discussed how space technology can contribute in better management of water resources, including combating desertification, ensuring access to safe drinking water and managing water-related emergencies in developing countries, with the following primary objectives:
To enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services and information for identifying and managing water resources;
To strengthen international and regional cooperation in this area;
To increase awareness among decision-makers and research and academic community of space technology applications for addressing water-related issues, primarily in developing countries;
To promote educational and public awareness initiatives in the area of water resources management, as well as to contribute into capacity building process in this area.
Overall, 43 oral presentations were delivered during four-day course of the technical sessions, and 6 papers were submitted for a poster session. Technical sessions were followed by meetings of two Working Groups which were established to prepare observations and recommendations of the Conference, as well as to develop proposals for follow up projects and to examine possible partnerships that could be launched.
United Nations / UNESCO / Saudi Arabia
1st International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)
Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW)
12-16 April 2008, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
Download the Program (PDF)
OBJECTIVE OF THE CONFERENCE:
1. To explore the use of space technologies to assist in water management with the goal of finding ways to increase water resources and mitigate water related environmental problems such as drought, flood, and pollution.
Topics included: rain water harvesting methods, groundwater recharge storage basins, sedimentation control in surface water systems, exploration and assessment of groundwater, and water demand management in urban areas.
2. To explore the use of space technology to detect archaeological irrigation systems such as canals that can inspire modern day solutions to satisfy our water needs. Ancient irrigation systems were designed to efficiently deliver large quantities of subterranean water to the surface and allow water to be transported long distances in hot, dry climates without losing a large proportion of the source water to seepage and evaporation.
The Conference explored these ancient systems using space technologies such as remote sensing, and discussed how these systems can be used to satisfy modern water needs, particularly with respect to improving land use and agricultural activities, and the discovery of surface or underground water sources. This is part of an effort to link traditional and ancient methods to modern needs.