Why is it important?

Irrigation development is a major goal for Uganda to contribute to food security, poverty alleviation and economic growth by using water sustainably.

Satellite remote sensing of evapotranspiration (ET) is an essential part of global observation systems and provides inputs for agriculture, water resources management, weather forecasts, climate studies and many other applications. Easy access to reliable estimations of ET is a key requirement within these domains, and if ET can be successfully estimated at high resolution it holds a vast potential to assist in the current attempts of meeting the demands of irrigation managers and farmers by mapping crop water stress and demand at field scale.

Project highlights:

Developing and rolling-out a novel
open-source algorithm that can merge data from optical and thermal satellites as well as meteorological data 

Based on our algorithm we will obtain evapotranspiration and crop water stress at farm level 

Expected to lead to 30% less water use for the same yield

Mubuku, Western Uganda
The area holds close to 2000 hectares of smallholder farms watered by drainage channels
The main crops grown are maize, rice, onions and mangos
The purpose is to find out if crops are overwatered or under stress

In more detail..

This project aims to develop and roll-out a novel algorithm for obtaining evapotranspiration and crop water stress at farm level for a large national irrigation scheme in Uganda.

The site chosen for this project is Mubuku in the Kasese District.

It is expected that the project can lead to 30% less water use for the same yield, which would greatly benefit the local community and farmers.

Since the code will be open source the project can pave the way for better irrigation in drought prone countries.

The project is done in collaboration with our partners, the Ugandan geo-information company, Geo Gecko.

Microsoft and National Geographic AI for Earth Innovation Grant:

A new, joint grant program that will challenge environmental issues of the 21st century with the most advanced technologies available today.

“AI for Earth Innovation” grants will fund new solutions that leverage AI and cloud technologies to monitor, model and manage Earth’s natural resources.