International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management

space conference logo 240x250Introduction:

Every three years, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA) and PSIPW co-organize the International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management in conjunction with the United Nations and other international agencies. The most recent 4th conference was held in Islamabad, Pakistan from 26 february to 2 march 2018..

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.

2018

United Nations / Pakistan / PSIPW / ISNET

4th International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management

hosted by 
the Pakistan Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) on behalf of the Government of Pakistan

26 February-2 March 2018, Islamabad,Pakistan

logostrip pakistan

1. RATIONALE AND CONTEXT

This was the fourth international event focusing on water-related aspects of space technology applications in the series of conferences organised in co-operation with, and with financial assistance of the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW). This conference was also co-sponsored by the Inter-Islamic network on Space Sciences & technology (ISNET). The first such event, the United Nations/UNESCO/Saudi Arabia International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management, took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2008, the second conference was organized in March 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina and the third one in Rabat, Morocco in April 2014.


2. CONFERENCE OBJECTIVES

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 humankind 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, floods, droughts, 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.

Starting with its session in 2004, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) began to consider matters related to the use of space-related technology in water resource management. The Committee noted that in response to the deepening water crisis, space technology could contribute to a better water resource management by providing data and information on the availability of water resources and water use. The Committee also noted that once converted into practical information, scientific 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.

Furthermore, the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs was preparing for UNISPACE +50, which took place in June 2018 (see http://www.unoosa.org/oosa/en/ourwork/unispaceplus50/index.html ), with the intent of defining a Space2030 vision in support of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Therefore, the importance of considering how space technologies and related applications can support the implementation of those SDGs and agreements was even higher than usual.

The discussions, findings and recommendations of this Conference were important in implementing the priority roadmaps on health and resilient societies, towards Space2030.

The Conference not only addressed the above-mentioned issues, but also identified gaps, and discussed how space technology can contribute to better management of water resources in general, as well as specific issues such as mountain region-specific water challenges, combating desertification, water storage, floods and drought monitoring, ensuring access to safe drinking water and managing water-related emergencies in developing countries. The following primary objectives were identified:

  • To enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services and information for identifying, managing and monitoring water resources; 
  • To strengthen international and regional cooperation in this area; 
  • To raise awareness among decision-makers, research and academic communities on space technology applications in 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 any capacity building efforts in this area;
  • To consider and review new or emerging technologies and approaches in this domain; 
  • To contribute to the Space2030 implementation roadmaps on health and resilient societies

The discussions at the Conference were focused on contributing towards the June 2018 UNISPACE+50 and its outcomes, an event that marks the fiftieth anniversary of the first United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space held in 1968.


3. CONFERENCE PROGRAMME AND OUTCOMES

The Conference was composed of a series of technical presentations with sufficient time set aside for discussions. Technical sessions were followed by open discussions, which focused on specific topics of interest and provided additional opportunities for participants to voice their opinions.

The programme of the Conference also included technical sessions addressing among others the following themes:

Opening Session: International Initiatives Integrating Space Technologies in Water Resource Management;

Session 1: Space Applications for Water Security and Risk Management;

Session 2: Using Space Technologies to Address Water Challenges in Mountain Regions;

Session 3: Geospatial Information in Water Resource Management;

Session 4: Capacity Building and Cooperation Initiatives;

Session 5: Case studies presentations.

Presentations at the above technical included the following topics:

  • Applications of space technologies that provide cost-effective solutions and essential information for planning and implementation of programmes or projects to enhance management, protection and restoration of water resources.
  • Use of space-related technologies in mitigating water-related emergencies, in addressing mountain region-specific challenges, water storage or in providing safe drinking water combating desertification as well as floods and droughts monitoring.
  • Capacity building in water management, including development of human resources, establishing technical infrastructures and legal frameworks, and access to financial resources.
  • Education and training required for various target groups on using space technologies for addressing water-related challenges, as well as public awareness initiatives in this area.
  • International, regional and national initiatives and international and inter-regional cooperation.
  • Case studies on successful applications of space technologies for enhancing water resources management in developing countries.

The Conference discussions addressed ways of expanding the use of space technologies and information/data for better water resources management, as well as identifying the priority areas where pilot projects could be launched, and considering possible partnerships that could be established.

 pakistan conference long

2014

United Nations / Morocco / PSIPW / ESA / ISNET / GEO

3rd International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management

hosted by 
The Royal Center for Remote Sensing (CRTS)

1-4 April 2014, Rabat, Morocco

at the facilities of the Royal Center for Remote Sensing

Download Program (PDF)

Download the Working Groups' Report (PDF)

Watch News Coverage (Arabic)

Organizers:

logostrip_3rd conference2

Information:

The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), the Government of Morocco and the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW)  jointly co-organized the Conference to promote the use of space technology for the benefit of the developing countries.

The third Conference was held in Rabat, Morocco, from 1 to 4 April 2014. It was hosted by the Royal Center for Remote Sensing (CRTS) on behalf of the Government of Morocco and co-sponsored by European Space Agency (ESA), the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Sciences and Technology (ISNET), and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

The Conference was the third international event focusing on water-related issues in the series of meetings organised in co-operation with, and with financial assistance of, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW). The first UN/UNESCO/Saudi Arabia International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2008, and the second UN/Argentina meeting was held in March 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Background and objectives:

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.

Starting with its session in 2004, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) began to consider matters related to the use of space-related technology in water resource management. The Committee noted that in response to the deepening water crisis, space technology could contribute to a better water resource management by providing data and information on the availability of water resources and water use. The Committee also noted that once converted into practical information, scientific 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 discusses how space technology can contribute to the better management of water resources. Space technology can help in combating desertification, ensuring access to safe drinking water and managing water-related emergencies in developing countries

The Conference had the following primary objectives:

  1. To enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services and information for identifying and managing water resources;
  2. To strengthen international and regional cooperation in this area;
  3. To increase awareness among decision-makers and research and academic community of space technology applications for addressing water-related issues, primarily in developing countries;
  4. 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.

Programme:

The programme of the Conference included technical sessions addressing the following themes:

Special Session: Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water

The session includes former Prizewinner Dr. Abdelkader Larabi discussing the use of space technology to study and manage the endemic problem of saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers.

Session 1: Space application for Water Productivity and Economy.

The session will present and discuss good practices of use of satellite applications and innovative technologies by government, scientists and value added companies working on water resources management.

Session 2: International Initiatives to Integrate Space Technologies in Water Resource Management.

Session 3: Space Applications for Water Security and Risk Management.

The session will focus on the operational programmes and case studies where Earth observation data and space tools were developed for assessment and mitigation of risks and disasters related to water.

Session 4: Geospatial Information for Ground Water Resources Management.

The session will focus on integration of geospatial information and the role of geodata infrastructures for evaluation, exploration and exploitation of groundwater resources.

Session 5: Capacity Building and Cooperation Initiatives.

The session will discuss the ways to develop capacity and national competencies for an efficient use of space technologies, as well as will identify cooperation opportunities for national capacity building activities.

Presentations at the above technical sessions covered a number of topics, inducing:

  1. Applications of space technologies that provide cost-effective solutions and essential information for planning and implementation of programmes or projects to enhance management, protection and restoration of water resources.
  2. Use of space-related technologies in mitigating water-related emergencies, providing safe drinking water and combating desertification.
  3. Capacity building in water management, including development of human resources, establishing technical infrastructures and legal frameworks, and access to financial resources.
  4. Education and training required for various target groups on using space technologies for addressing water-related challenges, as well as public awareness initiatives in this area.
  5. International, regional and national initiatives and international and inter-regional cooperation.
  6. Case studies on successful applications of space technologies for enhancing water resources management in developing countries.

 

The Conference discussions considered ways of expanding the use of space technologies and information/data for better water resources management, as well as  identifying the priority areas where pilot projects could be launched and examined possible partnerships that could be established.

2011

United Nations / Argentina / PSIPW / ESA

2nd International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management

hosted by
Argentine Space Agency (ASA)

14-18 March 2011, Buenos Aires, Argentina

at the facilities of the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs

Organizers:
logostrip_2nd conference2

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:

  1. To enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services and information for identifying and managing water resources;
  2. To strengthen international and regional cooperation in this area;
  3. To increase awareness among decision-makers and research and academic community of space technology applications for addressing water-related issues, primarily in developing countries;
  4. 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.

1

2008

United Nations / UNESCO / Saudi Arabia

1st International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management

hosted by
King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST)
and
Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW)

12-16 April 2008, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

Download the Program (PDF)

Download the Working Groups' Report (PDF)

Organizers:

Organizers

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.

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