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SAMIR : SATELLITE MONITORING OF IRRIGATION

Place: morocco, Africa
Sustainable management of natural resources Sustainable management of natural resources
Total Budget: € 0,00 | Period: From January 2005 To December 2009

Summary

In a context of strong pressure applied on water resources, a better accounting of the water used in agriculture is necessary for both watershed management and irrigation guidance (perimeter to plot scale). Satellite monitoring of irrigation (SAMIR) is a software using satellite images to spatialize evapotranspiration and irrigation water budgets over large areas.

Partnership

Center of Biosphere Space Studies - France

Lead applicant

Hydraulic Basin Agency Tensift - Morocco

Initiative partner

Regional Office of Agricultural Development Haouz - Morocco

Initiative partner

Cadi Ayyad University - Morocco

Initiative partner

Cadi Ayyad University, established in 1978, has 13 institutions which are: Faculty of Sciences Semlalia (1978–79), Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences (1978–79), Faculty of Law, Economic and Social Sciences (1978–79), Faculty of Sciences and Techniques (1991–92); Faculty of Sciences and Techniques (1997–98), National School of Applied Sciences, National School of Commerce and Management (2004–05) and Ecole Normale Supérieure, all in Marrakesh; Ecole Supérieure de Technologie in Essaouira; University Center (2007–08) in Kelaa of Essraghna; Ecole Supérieure de Technologie (1992–93), Faculté Polydisciplinaire (2003–04) and National School of Applied Sciences (2003–04) in Safi

In a context of strong pressure applied on water resources, a better accounting of the water used in agriculture is necessary for both watershed management and irrigation guidance (perimeter to plot scale). Satellite monitoring of irrigation (SAMIR) is a software using satellite images to spatialize evapotranspiration and irrigation water budgets over large areas.

For sure your Initiative has generated more than one innovation on various level (political, technological, economical, cultural, social) . Choose the one that you evaluate more relevant and describe it with simple words, which everybody can understand (please do not use a very specialist language). If significant, explain how the innovation has been useful in order to reach the results of the initiative

In the simpler estimate of Evapotranspiration, SAMIR only uses Climatic Data (provided by meteorological station or reanalysis) and Satellite Imagery. In the more advanced budgeting, SAMIR also requires soil description and the known water inputs (Rain and Irrigation).

- Compared to classical models using arbitrary vegetation development, SAMIR accounts for the actual vegetation thanks to remote sensing data.
- It uses Imagery in the visible spectra, which is widely available on many earth observation satellites (SPOT, Landsat, Formosat2, Deimos, Modis,…)
- SAMIR offers spatialized 

Calculation of Actual Evapotranspiration Calculation of Actual Evapotranspiration, Soil Water Content and Irrigation at the pixel Scale
Examples of the Graphic User Interface Examples of the Graphic User Interface
Integration of SAMIR in an Integrated Management Modelling Suite Integration of SAMIR in an Integrated Management Modelling Suite
Use of SAMIR to conduct irrigation over a wheat plot near Marrakech Use of SAMIR to conduct irrigation over a wheat plot near Marrakech
closer to actual Evapotranspiration than the FAO tables closer to actual Evapotranspiration than the FAO tables
Satellite Imagery and Water Resources in Morocco The movie shows the problematic of managing water in the semi-arid area of Marrakech, Morocco. It shows how earth observation by satellite can help for snow (Atlas plain) and vegetation monitoring (Haouz Plain)in particular and the comprehension of the whole water cycle in general. More information is available on our website http:/trema.ucam.ac.ma

Arid and semi-arid areas in Mediterranean basin are subject to a high environmental stress, due to their ecological fragility and to the scarcity
of water. Growth and changing needs of populations increase the pressure on natural resources and can cause environmental degradation, often amplified by climate changes. The Tensift watershed (Marrakech) is known for the high spatial and temporal irregularity of water resources with recurrent droughts. Irrigated agriculture, concentrated in the Haouz plain (about 200,000 ha) uses about 85% of total resources mobilized. The management of irrigation water is crucial to meet the water needs of all users in a sustainable manner.
The CESBIO laboratory in France, the Tensift Basin Agency, the Haouz Agricultural Office and Cadi Ayyad University in Morocco have joined together in a research project funded by the French public research and international projects (i.e. EC), hosted by the Moroccan University, to design and test the SAMIR tool.

Water Management implies the measurement or estimation of water fluxes inputs and outputs into the system. The onsite techniques of measurements are well known of water managers (gauges, hydrometric measurements, piezometry, etc...). Moreover, some fluxes like Groundwater and Evapotranspiration cannot be measured on large areas.
Modeling supported by remote sensing, like the SAMIR model fills this gap. In the Tensift basin, an integrated water management system based on SAMIR, WEAP and MODFLOW was successfully implemented and allows the basin agency to evaluate the impact of different scenarios of management, like reconversion to drip irrigation, setup of a new dam or even artificial recharge. At the plot scale, irrigation driving was tested on a wheat field using SAMIR, providing very interesting results in terms of water economy and yields.

The estimation of Evapotranspiration and irrigation water fluxes is important for planners (basin agencies), irrigation managers (agricultural organizations), and farmers. Regional agencies often need to know what has been consumed since the beginning of the season or estimate what will be needed to finish the season. As irrigation water often comes from dams with limited supply, a better knowledge of consumptions and future needs would optimize the distribution. In addition, agricultural water balances are essential for water agencies to estimate groundwater abstractions, to better control the water and facilitate access to hydrological modeling of watersheds.

The tool and the concept behind SAMIR are well suited to respond to the increasing need of a tighter management of water. Including:
- Integrated and groundwater management (Watershed scale)
- Irrigated Area Monitoring (irrigation units scale)
- Irrigation driving (plot scale)
The estimation of Evapotranspiration and irrigation

The initiative was carried out through the involvement of several human resources, both at the administrative and  scientific level. 

- A first constrain is linked to the data availability. However, SAMIR is flexible enough and accepts various types of inputs:
- Meteorological Data can either come from a local meteorological station or from gridded dataset like the outputs of a meteorological models.
- Most of earth observation satellites may be used by Samir. With Landsat8 and the upcoming Sentinel2, very high resolution time series are available free of charge.
- Local data like irrigation are often very complicated to obtain. SAMIR can reconstruct the Irrigation input by itself.
- Model calibration has been achieved so far using detailed local measurements, but extensive calibration/validation work still has to be done to know to what extent the model can be parameterized, for which accuracy.
- Capacity building of local users is also a bottleneck, as potential users don’t have the financial resources to engage the required qualified staff or financially support the service.

This tool was implemented jointly with the Haouz Agricultural Office in charge of irrigation) in the area (ORMVAH and the Tensift Basin Agency in charge of water management (ABHT). This involvement shows the interest of regional actors for new management tools. In the case of ABHT, SAMIR is actually used to provide input data (agricultural consumption and groundwater abstraction) in their groundwater model.
ORMVAH was closely involved in an experiment related to operational plot scale irrigation driving.

Nothing observed for now (the tool has not been distributed yet). However, due to the high genericity of the tool, we think it is easy to transfer to areas where the problematic and climate are similar to Morocco.
The implementation of the tool in the Merguellil watershed in Tunisia is currently under progress.

Various scientific papers describe the concepts and results.
Registration of the tool is under progress.