Towards a satellite based system for monitoring agricultural water use: A case study for Saudi Arabia

Matthew McCabe, Rasmus Houborg, Jorge Rosas, Ali Ershadi, Martha Anderson, Christopher Hain

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Over the last few decades, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) has witnessed a dramatic expansion of its agricultural sector. In common with many other developing countries, this has been driven by a combination of population increases and the related effects on consumption as well as a demand for increased food security. Inevitably, the sector growth has come at the expense of a parallel increase in water consumption. Indeed, it is estimated that more than 80% of all of the water used in the Kingdom relates to agricultural production. More concerning is that the vast majority of this water is derived from non-renewable fossil groundwater extraction. To exacerbate the problem, groundwater extraction is largely unmonitored, meaning that there is very little accounting of water use on a routine basis. In the absence of techniques to directly quantify abstractions related to agriculture at large spatial scales, a mechanism for inferring crop water use as an indirect surrogate is required.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2015 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium (IGARSS)
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)9781479979295
StatePublished - Nov 12 2015


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