International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management


Conference LogoThe Prize organizes the bi-annual International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management in conjunction with the United Nations and other international agencies. The 3rd conference will be held in Rabat, Morocco, from 1 - 4 April 2014.

The Prize is also a permanent observing member of the United Nations' Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS), where it focuses on the application of space technologies to water-related concerns.

United Nations / Morocco / PSIPW / ESA / ISNET / GEO

3rd International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management

hosted by 
The Royal Center for Remote Sensing (CRTS)

1-4 April 2014, Rabat, Morocco

at the facilities of the Royal Center for Remote Sensing

Download Program (PDF)

Download the Working Groups' Report (PDF)

Watch News Coverage (Arabic)


logostrip_3rd conference2


The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (OOSA), the Government of Morocco and the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW)  jointly co-organized the Conference to promote the use of space technology for the benefit of the developing countries.

The third Conference was held in Rabat, Morocco, from 1 to 4 April 2014. It was hosted by the Royal Center for Remote Sensing (CRTS) on behalf of the Government of Morocco and co-sponsored by European Space Agency (ESA), the Inter-Islamic Network on Space Sciences and Technology (ISNET), and the Group on Earth Observations (GEO).

The Conference was the third international event focusing on water-related issues in the series of meetings organised in co-operation with, and with financial assistance of, the Prince Sultan bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW). The first UN/UNESCO/Saudi Arabia International Conference on the Use of Space Technology for Water Management took place in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in April 2008, and the second UN/Argentina meeting was held in March 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Background and objectives:

Space technologies, including satellite remote sensing technology in particular, have demonstrated proven capabilities in meeting challenges of water resource management, as rapid population growth and development pressures continue to impose additional stresses on scarce resources. Continuous Earth observations from space are crucial to manage water resources for the benefit of mankind and the environment, as well as to provide important forecasting services to prevent water-related disasters such as floods and droughts.

Remote sensing satellites provide data on several key water-related variables (for example, rainfall, precipitations, water storage, soil moisture and evaporation) using spatial and temporal scales that are appropriate for reliable assessment. A satellite-based approach to assessment and management of water resources is especially important in countries and regions of the world where adequate hydrological networks do not exist.

Starting with its session in 2004, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (COPUOS) began to consider matters related to the use of space-related technology in water resource management. The Committee noted that in response to the deepening water crisis, space technology could contribute to a better water resource management by providing data and information on the availability of water resources and water use. The Committee also noted that once converted into practical information, scientific data on water resources provided by satellites could be used to formulate policy and implement programmes at the national, regional and international levels, including those of the World Bank, the United Nations Development Programme and other entities of the United Nations system.

The Conference addressed these issues, and discusses how space technology can contribute to the better management of water resources. Space technology can help in combating desertification, ensuring access to safe drinking water and managing water-related emergencies in developing countries

The Conference had the following primary objectives:

  1. To enhance capabilities of countries in the use of space-related technologies, applications, services and information for identifying and managing water resources;
  2. To strengthen international and regional cooperation in this area;
  3. To increase awareness among decision-makers and research and academic community of space technology applications for addressing water-related issues, primarily in developing countries;
  4. To promote educational and public awareness initiatives in the area of water resources management, as well as to contribute into capacity building process in this area.


The programme of the Conference included technical sessions addressing the following themes:

Special Session: Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water

The session includes former Prizewinner Dr. Abdelkader Larabi discussing the use of space technology to study and manage the endemic problem of saltwater intrusion in coastal aquifers.

Session 1: Space application for Water Productivity and Economy.

The session will present and discuss good practices of use of satellite applications and innovative technologies by government, scientists and value added companies working on water resources management.

Session 2: International Initiatives to Integrate Space Technologies in Water Resource Management.

Session 3: Space Applications for Water Security and Risk Management.

The session will focus on the operational programmes and case studies where Earth observation data and space tools were developed for assessment and mitigation of risks and disasters related to water.

Session 4: Geospatial Information for Ground Water Resources Management.

The session will focus on integration of geospatial information and the role of geodata infrastructures for evaluation, exploration and exploitation of groundwater resources.

Session 5: Capacity Building and Cooperation Initiatives.

The session will discuss the ways to develop capacity and national competencies for an efficient use of space technologies, as well as will identify cooperation opportunities for national capacity building activities.

Presentations at the above technical sessions covered a number of topics, inducing:

  1. Applications of space technologies that provide cost-effective solutions and essential information for planning and implementation of programmes or projects to enhance management, protection and restoration of water resources.
  2. Use of space-related technologies in mitigating water-related emergencies, providing safe drinking water and combating desertification.
  3. Capacity building in water management, including development of human resources, establishing technical infrastructures and legal frameworks, and access to financial resources.
  4. Education and training required for various target groups on using space technologies for addressing water-related challenges, as well as public awareness initiatives in this area.
  5. International, regional and national initiatives and international and inter-regional cooperation.
  6. Case studies on successful applications of space technologies for enhancing water resources management in developing countries.

The Conference discussions considered ways of expanding the use of space technologies and information/data for better water resources management, as well as  identifying the priority areas where pilot projects could be launched and examined possible partnerships that could be established.