Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), NASA, the DesertResearch Institute (DRI) and Google announced plans today to develop a new web application called OpenET to enable western U.S. farmers and water managers to accurately track water consumption by crops and other vegetation using data from satellites and weather stations.
OpenET will fill a critical information gap in water management in the West. Today, access to accurate, timely satellite-based data on the amount of water used to grow food is fragmented and often expensive, keeping it out of the hands of many farmers and decision-makers. Water supplies in the western U.S. are critical to the health of our communities, food supply and wildlife, but they are facing increasing pressures in the face of population growth and a changing climate.
Applications of OpenET data include:
●Informing irrigation management and scheduling practices to maximize “crop per drop” and reduce costs for water and fertilizer.
●Enabling water and land managers to develop more accurate water budgets and innovative management programs that promote adequate water supplies for agriculture, people, and ecosystems.
●Supporting groundwater management, water trading and conservation programs that increase the economic viability of agriculture across the West.