Technology – Based Water Resources Management

 

While technologies has played central role in development of water resources, its application in managing the resources have been rather limited, especially in the developing nations of Asia. Since the future water intervention are dictated more by the management response rather than the development options, the role of technology and potential application of different technological options to water management remains crucial.

The applications of remote sensing (RS) and geographical information system (GIS) techniques in management of water resources are beginning to take a foothold in Asia. For instance FAO and other international agencies are collaborating in developing global agro-ecological zoning to assess crop and land suitability and productivity, which can be impacted by water stress and management. In remote sensing, water accounting and audit methodologies are being implemented through satellite imagery. FAO is partnering with IWMI and UNESCO-IHE to further this technology for the overall planning and management of water resources so that the various water interventions may be appropriately targeted to benefit the smallholder farmers.

The water accounting/auditing methodologies would provide a comprehensive view of the water resources in regard to the supplies, demands, uses, and policies may be utilized as a basis for a water system analysis and evaluation. This will form the basis for water policy dialogues and strategic water resources management and planning by decision-makers. The water accounting methodology and approach utilizing remote sensing has also been successfully demonstrated in the Indus Basin as well as other locations

Information and communication technology (ICT) are relatively new, and have great potential to revolutionize the monitoring and management of irrigation systems and the water resources in the future. Recent advances in digital technology have proven cost-effective in regulating groundwater resources. The use of smart cards for prepaid metering as a way of regulation and control groundwater in Bangladesh (Barind Irrigation Project) and in China has shown promising results. This involves the use of prepaid smart cards to pump water, where the process is organized through Water Users Associations (WUAs). There is potential of widening the scale of expansion of the relevant technologies for water management including smart mobile phone technologies in many parts of Asia. The ICT may be a utilized as an effective tool by the farmers, especially for rural setting where the majority of farmers do not have access to the scientific and technological advances that support agricultural decision-making, to access the needed information.

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Land and Water Division, Natural Resources and Environment, Food and Agriculture Organization Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Bangkok Thailand 10200

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