Remote Sensing and Economic Indicators for Supporting Water Resources Management Decisions
This paper demonstrates that combining spatial land surface data with socio-economic analysis provides a number of indicators to strengthen decision making in integrated water and environmental management. It provides a basis to: track current water consumption in the Inkomati Basin in South-Africa; adjust irrigation water management; select crop types; facilitate planning; estimate crop yields before harvesting, and consequently to forecast market price development. Remote sensing data and economic analysis can also be used to study the spatial distribution of water consumption as an indicator of equity in access to water resources. It even enables identification of farms that consume more irrigation water than formally allocated. Finally, it provides a basis to assess the cost-effectiveness of various ways to reduce agricultural water consumption. So, this approach is potentially useful for determining water consumption, refining water allocation policies, and determining the potential for water transfers through mechanisms such as water trading.