Analysis ready data for water security

UNICEF reports that a third of children in the Pacific do not have access to good sanitation, and one in ten do not have access to safe drinking water. The Pacific Island’s small size, natural vulnerability and limited resources all contribute to the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) problems throughout the countries. 

Pacific Small Island Developing States (Pacific SIDS) Kiribati, Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands host 81% of the Pacific population that don’t have access to safe drinking water and improved sanitation. The Pacific Community’s (SPC), Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division (GEM) is working on a multitude of projects and initiatives to improve these communities’ access to sanitary water.

In 2020, the SPC was awarded grant funding and a support package through the GEO-GEE program run by Google, GEO and EO Data Science. The EO Data Science team is providing essential Google Earth Engine (GEE) training, support and billing capabilities to help improve Pacific Island Communities access to safe and reliable drinking water supplies. 

Accessing analysis ready datasets

A major challenge in the Pacific is having access to quality datasets with the required spatial and temporal coverage to support decision-making. The lack of readily-available datasets significantly impacts rural and remote communities in the Pacific region, especially those who are exposed to climate variability and prolonged periods of drought. 

By having access to analysis ready datasets, communities can make informed decisions backed by sound and validated geospatial data available within Earth Observation platforms such as GEE.

Readily available imagery 

Using GEE, the project team can harness its datasets catalogue and imagery from Landsat, Sentinel, Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellites. They can also leverage GEE’s cloud services for better detection of surface water, groundwater and other climate datasets. Further, GEE will help do this in a manner that is scalable at both a region and national level.

Funding from the GEO-GEE program will also directly support access to training through capacity building with the EO Data Science team. This will improve the project teams utilisation of geospatial data and tools, including GEE. This will also compliment the work they do on the ground and contribute to the upskilling of their regional partner organisations and Pacific Governments.
 

Capacity building within the PacificĀ 

The Pacific Community's Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division (GEM) seeks to develop  accessible data products that address water security and WASH in the Pacific SIDS. This work will support capacity building in SPC’s Water Resources Section’s groundwater assessments, SPC’s Ridge to Reef Programmes’ environmental surface-water monitoring, and enhancing expertise within SPC’s Geoinformatics Section to fully utilise Earth Observation capabilities enabled by GEE and open data. 

EO Data Science's role in the GEO-GEE program

EO Data Science partnered with Google Earth Engine and the Group on Earth Observations to launch the GEO-GEE Program in July 2020. Across 22 countries, 32 projects were selected for the program which offers $3 million USD towards product licenses and $1 million USD in technical support from EO Data Science to help operationalise their science as they strive to tackle the world’s biggest sustainable development challenges. So far EO Data Science has: 
 

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Conducted 38 Google Earth Engine training courses attended by 680 program participants

Resolved 105 support tickets with a live support desk

Organised five virtual meetups for projects across the world to exchange knowledge and network with one another

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