- Through a collaboration between ADB, the European Space Agency and the Government of West Bengal, space-age technology is being combined with nature-based approaches.
- These earth observation tools can help provide safe, sustainable water supplies, and improved disaster resilience for people in India’s West Bengal.
- WATCH: This video features project context including climate change risks, nature-based solutions, expected outcomes and value addition to the client and rural communities, and relevance to ADB’s Digital Agenda.
The Government of West Bengal is working with the Asian Development Bank and the European Space Agency to explore how earth observation tools can help provide safe, sustainable water supply for the people and boost disaster resilience. This video showcases the application of satellite and earth observation tools in the West Bengal Drinking Water Sector Improvement Project in India. It highlights the project context including (i) climate change risks, (ii) nature-based solutions, (iii) expected outcomes and value addition to the client and remote and rural communities, and (iv) relevance of the initiative to ADB’s Digital Agenda.
Satellites and earth observation solutions may seem out of this world, with no discernible relevance for those on the ground—let alone in remote or rural communities. But in West Bengal, India, these tools are no longer just rocket science.
Background: Context and Challenges
The State of West Bengal is one of the most climate vulnerable areas on the planet. Over-abstraction of groundwater and surface water systems have put the region at greater climate change risk, including floods and droughts, and is causing saltwater intrusion from the sea into freshwater supplies.
This reliance on groundwater has also left millions at risk from arsenic and fluoride contamination, which can lead to cancer and bone diseases.
To meet challenges of this scale, satellite and earth observation solutions are being combined with nature-based approaches.
[INTERVIEWEE: Aditi Basu Majumder, Superintending Engineer (Civil), Project Management Unit-WBDWSIP, Government of West Bengal]
“The Government of West Bengal with the assistance of Asian Development Bank is implementing a project to provide safe, sustainable and 24x7 water to its people and ADB has engaged the European Space Agency to explore how earth observation tools can be used to provide safe and sustainable water.”
Through satellite imagery, potential water storage sites or natural reservoirs are identified, where water can be directed during the monsoon season, reducing flood impacts and damage while providing water supply during the dry season or periods of drought.
Importance of Innovation:
[INTERVIEWEE: J. Enrique Gonzalez Laguna, Director, Aerospace Division, Everis]
“Aside from identifying the sites, earth observation enables us to study flood patterns during different seasons, analyze the probability of flooding, and many other things like water turbidity situation automatically identify the land cover with the help of machine learning techniques.”
In West Bengal, communities will have a fighting chance against cyclones, floods, and droughts. No longer will they also have to choose between contaminated water or no water. Once the ADB-funded project is completed, families will have clean water to drink all year round.