Following a call for feasibility studies for space-based services integrating the Internet of Things (IoT), the European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the Blue Desert project to the consortium Blue-Value. Utilising space-based assets and IoT technology, Blue Desert will conduct a feasibility study for the development of an integrated monitoring & control service to assist customers in desert areas to manage groundwater resources.
Groundwater is depleting rapidly. Global population growth and high water consumption in combination with severe climate change is resulting in catastrophic water shortages in many areas of the world. For example, Abu Dhabi’s groundwater reserves are set to run out in 50 years if no action is taken.
Using IoT sensor data and satellite imagery and infrastructure information, the Blue-Value solution delivers real-time insight into water usage, quality and environmental effects. This will all made be available via an easy-to-use, intuitive web application and a mobile phone app.
The integrated software solution enables services such as automated well monitoring, water abstraction metering and remote waterpump control. It will increase revenues for water authorities and decrease Non-Revenue Water for utilities. At the same time, the solution will enable farmers, miners, constructors and other users of water to manage the quantity and quality of this precious resource.
Associates of the project are: International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), Thuraya Satellites (UAE), SamTech Middle East (UAE) and the Netherlands Space Office (NSO). The consortium has received expressions of interest from leading hydro engineering firms including Royal HaskoningDHV and Witteveen+Bos from the Netherlands, as well as water sensor manufacturers.
Simon van den Dries, co-founder of Blue-Value added: “The award of this project shows great recognition of the work done and the opportunity that we foresee here. It is vitally important that steps are taken to value and use water much more wisely and effectively.”
The Blue Desert Project was presented for the first time during the Amsterdam International Water Week on November 1, 2017.