The European Space Agency and the CEO Water Mandate will use space-based data to monitor some of the world’s most water stressed basins and help make them more resilient.
4 December 2023, Dubai – European Space Agency (ESA) and CEO Water Mandate announced today the selection of the first batch of pilot projects which aim to advance the digital monitoring of 100 of the world’s most water-stressed basins. The announcement demonstrates the progress made so far in this collaboration which is focused on addressing urgent water challenges.
The Digitising Water Resilience Monitoring in Basins initiative, initiated under ESA’s Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS) programme in partnership with the CEO Water Mandate’s Water Resilience Coalition (WRC), aims to support digital and space technology partners to develop water resilience monitoring capabilities. The first batch of projects selected are leveraging space-based data to visualise real-time basin diagnostics and monitor progress on water security and resilience. The projects will further develop AI and IoT technologies for better in-situ data collection for water quantity, water quality, water access and sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) systems. These inaugural projects represent an important milestone in the digitization of critical information about the world’s water resources to enable more precise monitoring of at-risk freshwater basins which are an essential resource to billions of people, ecosystems, and industries.
Currently, two billion people around the world live in water-stressed environments. Climate change is accelerating global risks of water availability, water quality and equitable water access. By 2050, more than half the world’s population could live in water-stressed areas if urgent action is not taken to achieve global water resilience.
“Collecting data on the health of water basins and the changing sources of water risk is key to building water resilience. Satellite earth observation and digital technology advancements present an opportunity to exponentially advance our work on water stewardship”, said Jason Morrison, President of the Pacific Institute and Head of the CEO Water Mandate. “We are excited about this partnership with ESA and the collaborative projects involving space and digital technology”.
These first inaugural projects represent two years in the making. At COP26, ESA and CEO Water Mandate established their collaboration to connect digital and space technologies to water. The Digitising Water Resilience Monitoring in Basins Call was also officially launched at COP27. Now, at COP28, ESA and CEO Water Mandate continue to focus on the opportunities space technology could bring to aid in water-related climate action initiatives.
“We are very pleased to see the fruits of our collaboration with CEO Water Mandate,” said Rita Rinaldo, Head of Applications Projects and Studies Division at ESA. “These projects demonstrate how much untapped potential space technology has to offer in the climate crisis. Without it, monitoring essential areas and acting effectively to mitigate climate challenges like water stress becomes less feasible. We look forward to supporting these exciting projects in the months ahead.”
Through its BASS programme, ESA is at the forefront of supporting companies utilising space for the green transition, with almost half of all its activities dedicated to addressing the challenges of climate change. These planned projects roll out in 2024-2025 and will play a key role in ESA’s mission to establish a more sustainable future on Earth using space assets. The CEO Water Mandate’s Water Resilience Coalition initiative is bringing the deep innovation expertise of business to water and climate solutions. These projects demonstrate a new opportunity to leverage the most advanced technologies and innovations for water in the face of climate change.
ESA and the CEO Water Mandate will continue to collaborate on water related challenges with the aim of multiplying the impact and promoting the wide adoption of integrated space and digital solutions developed by the selected projects.
About the CEO Water Mandate
The CEO Water Mandate is a partnership between the UN Global Compact and the Pacific Institute that mobilizes business leaders on water, sanitation, and the Sustainable Development Goals for corporate water stewardship. Mandate endorsers commit to continuous progress against six core elements (direct operations, supply chain and watershed management, collective action, public policy, community engagement, and transparency) and in so doing understand and manage their own water risks. Established in 2007, the CEO Water Mandate was created out of the acknowledgement that global water challenges create risk for a wide range of industry sectors, the public sector, local communities, and ecosystems alike.
About the UN Global Compact
As a special initiative of the United Nations Secretary-General, the UN Global Compact is a call to companies worldwide to align their operations and strategies with Ten Principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Our ambition is to accelerate and scale the global collective impact of business by upholding the Ten Principles and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals through accountable companies and ecosystems that enable change. With more than 18,000 companies and 3,800 non-business signatories based in over 101 countries, and 62 Local Networks, the UN Global Compact is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative—one Global Compact uniting business for a better world.
About the Pacific Institute
Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is a global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies. From working with Fortune 500 companies to frontline communities, our mission is to create and advance solutions to the world’s most pressing water challenges. Since 2009, the Pacific Institute has also acted as co-secretariat for the CEO Water Mandate, a global commitment platform that mobilizes a critical mass of business leaders to address global water challenges through corporate water stewardship.
About ESA Business Applications and Space Solutions (BASS)
ESA Business Applications Space Solutions is the go-to place for great business ideas involving space in all areas of society and economy. Our mission is to support entrepreneurs in Europe in the development of business using satellite applications and space technology to improve everyday life, delivering environmental and societal benefits. To find out how ESA BASS can help your business please visit https://business.esa.int/.