NASA remote sensing data provided to Pakistan PCRWR
ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Council for Research and Water Resources (PCRWR) has planned to expand the scope of `Irrigation Advisory SMS Service for the Farmers’ by increasing the number of registered farmers from existing 20,000 up to 100,000 soon.
The service was launched on April 18, 2016 as an outcome of international collaboration extended by University of Washington (UW) and NASA with an aim to help reduce overwatering and enhance crop yields for Pakistani farmers.
The University of Washington is providing real time daily Potential Evapotranspiration (ET) and precipitation for entire Pakistan using NASA 's remotely sensed data. PCRWR determined crop coefficients (Kc) for different crops in different agro-climatic zones of Pakistan.
“PCRWR has planned to extend its Irrigation Advisory Service to 100,000 farmers now while in the long run, the council envisions extending it to all farmers of irrigated areas through international and national coordination”, PCRWR Chairman Dr Muhammad Aslam Tahir said this while talking to APP.
The service has already been informing the farmers of 41 districts (irrigated areas) about their net weekly irrigation requirements, considering Evapotranspiration (ET) and precipitation.
Dr Aslam said around 90 percent of the water is consumed in the agriculture sector of the country and most of it is wasted due to improper utilization. The objective behind initiating this service was to conserve this water through educating farmers about actual water requirement for their crops.
The farmers, through this service, get weekly information on how much water their crop is needed and if there is chances of any rain or not during the next week.
The chairman said through this service, if we can even save only one percent of the whole will be a big achievement for us and help overcome the looming threat of acute water scarcity in the years to come.
He said the PCRWR is in contact with Telenor Telecom Company to utilize their service and existing database of farmers for providing irrigation advisory service to the maximum number of farmers.
Asian Development Bank (ADB) has also shown interest in capacity building of the technical staff to be involved in this task, Dr Aslam said.“We need to upgrade our system and require big servers for this purpose”.
A survey by the PCRWR found that farmers who used the text message alerts reported a 40 percent savings in water while their income has been doubled as they got more crops by applying the correct amount of water. - APP