Using Big Data and Earth Observations for SDG 6 monitoring
Land and water systems are intricately linked from the basin to the regional and global scale. Informed decision-making across these scales, including at the national and sub-national level, is tantamount to achieving sustainable development. There is, however, a demonstrated need for innovative ways to get more information on water resources and water related ecosystems in an accurate, timely, and usable format, which builds on existing monitoring infrastructure. This is especially true in data sparse regions. The use of satellite-based Earth observation (EO) data for monitoring water resources and water-related ecosystems is increasingly being recognized and accepted as a viable source of information for decision-makers. Through the lens of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 and specific case studies, this session will demonstrate how global coverage EO data can be used to systematically and accurately measure inland surface water, water quality and the extent of wetlands from space, in concert with ground based monitoring and validation efforts. The discussion will reach beyond individual indicators to put into context how this effort could support the implementation and monitoring of Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) initiatives and the assessment of watershed ecosystem health to help prioritize landscape restoration activities.