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Water: Strategic Target

Before 2015, GEO aims to:

Produce comprehensive sets of data and information products to support decision-making for efficient management of the world's water resources, based on coordinated, sustained observations of the water cycle on multiple scales.

This will be achieved through:

Development of a sustained, operational monitoring system for the global water cycle, combining space-based, airborne, and in-situ observation networks which will:

  • address water resources in terms of quantitative availability and water quality;
  • include integrated in-situ reference sites for monitoring essential variables for water cycle measurement;
  • promote the upgrading of in-situ networks in regions where current networks do not meet emerging standards for observations, network enhancements, data systems, planning frameworks and implementation programs;
  • allow for different types of measurements to be planned in a structured way across variables, sensors, platforms and nations and in some cases development of sensor technology;
  • deliver a broad range of integrated data products that cover many different spatial and temporal scales, combining detailed point in-situ measurements with coarser comprehensive coverage provided by satellites.

Development of widely available, sustained water cycle data sets and related information products, at both global and basin scales, tailored to the near- and long-term needs of stakeholders and end-users, which will:

  • exploit past and current in-situ and satellite-based observations as well as fostering their integration into advanced models for integrated water resource management;
  • focus attention on developing local, regional and global hydrological risk (e.g., floods, droughts) assessment, prediction and management systems and expanded applications of integrated water resource management for sustained development;
  • promote the next generation of improved/enhanced products and innovative observations (with special emphasis on observational gaps: e.g., precipitation and run-off at high latitudes and water quality measurements from space), for water resources management.

This will be demonstrated by:

  • An operationalized and sustained global network of in-situ observation sites.
  • Increased availability of information products and services for monitoring changes in the water cycle, including clouds and precipitation, appropriate for both research and integrated water resource management.
  • Increased availability of data and information, including quantity and quality of both surface and groundwater, to support a water cycle decision making system.
  • Routine, reliable production of “watershed” and human health indicators from satellite data, surface and subsurface data, and data assimilation capabilities.

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