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FAO Makes Its Water Monitoring Tool Available Worldwide
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Rome : WaPOR, the innovative water management tool, is now available worldwide. It started in Africa and the Near East, where it was very successful for six years.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) launched the improved version today during the 2nd Rome Water Dialogue and the Global Symposium on Soils and Water.

WaPOR, short for “Water Productivity through Open access of Remotely sensed derived data,” provides users with up-to-date satellite data to monitor how much water is used in farming, especially for irrigation.

It also helps to calculate the economic benefits of using each drop of water more efficiently. This is crucial, especially in areas where water is scarce.

Lifeng LI, Director of the FAO Land and Water Division, said, “WaPOR can provide important information to help improve agricultural yields.”

The new version of WaPOR uses more advanced satellite technology, offering even more detailed information. It can zoom in on individual fields, with each pixel representing 20 meters of land. Farmers can use this data to decide when and how much to water their crops.

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Jippe Hoogeveen, Chief Technical Advisor of the WaPOR program, said, “We will have better data, allowing governments to plan more effectively and help achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6.”

While the expanded WaPOR data is available to all FAO member countries and the public, Colombia and Pakistan are the first countries outside of Africa and the Near East to receive support from FAO to use this tool.

The Netherlands government funded the development of WaPOR and its expanded version.”

How It Works:

WaPOR does something cool. It measures evapotranspiration, which is a part of the water cycle. This includes water that disappears into the air through evaporation from the ground and water that goes up into the air when plants use it and release vapor.

Using this information, WaPOR can make maps that show how much plant stuff (like crops) you can get from each bit of water you use. This helps figure out how efficient we are with water when growing crops.

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This can be useful in many ways. It can help make rules about how we use water and decide how much we should pay for it. It can also give advice to farmers about when and how much to water their crops. Plus, it can help decide how much energy is needed to pump water, which affects its cost.

WaPOR helps a lot in figuring out the extra cost or benefit of using water. This can help people like government planners and small farmers make smarter choices. Sometimes, using less water might not be the best answer.

For example, let’s say in a place like Lebanon, growing spring potatoes makes more money than growing wheat, even though potatoes need more water. It’s a tough choice between having enough food and making money. WaPOR can help calculate how much money you can make from the water you use, which can guide this kind of decision.

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But, WaPOR doesn’t just use maps. It also looks at real things on the ground. If it sees that some farms are really good at using water, while others aren’t, it can help figure out what the successful farms are doing differently.

Lots of important organizations like the World Bank and the African Development Bank use WaPOR for their projects. It helps them make good choices too.

To make things even better, FAO is putting WaPOR into its Hand-in-Hand Geospatial Platform. This way, it can help with even more projects to help rural areas.

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