InCubed supports InfoSequia’s satellite-based Drought Early Warning and Forecasting System
ESA’s InCubed programme is supporting the development and pilot implementation of FutureWater’s new InfoSequia module, dubbed 4CAST. InfoSequia-4CAST combines historical and up-to-date observations of satellite-based meteorological and agricultural drought indices with climate variability indices to generate seasonal outlooks of water supply and crop yield failure alerts.
Water and food security are at risk in many places around the world, at present and even more so in the future, with significant economic and humanitarian consequences. Risk managers and decision-makers, such as water management authorities and humanitarian-aid agencies, can more effectively prevent harmful drought impacts if timely and actionable information is available on how water and food availability is affected.
FutureWater, a Dutch SME specialist in water management solutions, is developing InfoSequia-4CAST to provide users with timely predictions on drought impacts on crop yield and water supply. Seasonal outlooks are computed by a novel, state-of-the-art Machine Learning technique, previously tested in applications for crop production forecasting and agricultural drought risk financing. The module responds to needs identified in previous applications and is a major extension of FutureWater’s Drought Early Warning and Forecasting System, InfoSequia. Another module, InfoSequia-MONITOR, is also being improved by incorporating satellite data to create multi-sensor drought indices.
Using multi-sensor, state-of-the art satellite data fully integrated with predictive models, InfoSequia-4CAST provides location-specific 3-6 month outlooks and warnings of crop yield and water supply failures to end users through a simple, intuitive user interface.
After signing the contract with ESA in February 2021, FutureWater Project Manager Gijs Simons said: “This ESA supported InCubed activity is a unique opportunity for FutureWater to transfer a highly promising technology from the academic domain to a market-ready, operational decision-support tool. We are very enthusiastic about collaborating with ESA and a range of regional stakeholders to realise this product, which we believe can make a crucial difference for water management authorities and humanitarian NGOs worldwide.”
FutureWater works with one of the world’s leading institutes in sustainability science, the Institute for Environmental Studies of the Free University of Amsterdam (IVM), to develop InfoSequia-4CAST. The product is targeted to the needs of water managers who intend to alleviate and mitigate the impacts of forthcoming drought periods by taking well-informed water management decisions, as well as humanitarian NGOs aiming to trigger ex-ante cash transfers with policyholders and farmer communities.
The InCubed activity includes collaborations with stakeholders and future end users in Spain, Colombia and Mozambique in order to establish user requirements, inform system design, and achieve pilot implementation of the system in the second project year.
Anna Burzykowska , ESA InCubed Technical Officer, added: ‘’The Earth Observation market sees an increased uptake of different type of products providing drought indices and early warning systems. The development of the FutureWater’s-4CAST module will enhance the current offering by producing advanced regional drought impact models with important improvements such as fusion with climate data records, yield forecasting as well as monthly and quarterly seasonal outlooks to more effectively manage the disaster impacts. We look forward to facilitating the project’s R&D activities as well as to supporting the engagement with new institutional and commercial customers.’’.
More information on the InfoSequia-4CAST InCubed activity can be found here.