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Friday, April 21, 2017

Using real-time satellite data to track water productivity in agriculture.

How to use real-time satellite data to track water productivity in agriculture.Measuring how efficiently water is used in agriculture, particularly in water-scarce countries, is going high-tech with the help of a new tool developed by FAO. The WaPOR open-access database has gone live, tapping satellite data to help farmers achieve more reliable agricultural yields and allowing for the optimization of irrigation systems. WaPOR was presented this week during a high-level partners meeting for FAO's Coping with water scarcity in agriculture: a global framework for action in a changing climate. It allows for fine-grained analysis of water utilised through farming systems, generating empirical evidence about how it can be most productively used. Worldwide water utilization - the majority of which is used by agriculture - has outpaced the rate of population growth for most of the last century and some regions are close to breaching viable limits. WaPOR sifts through satellite data and uses Google Earth computing power to produce maps that show how much biomass and yield is produced per cubic meter of water consumed. The maps can be rendered at resolutions of as little as 30 to 250 meters, and updated every one to ten days.continue