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AQUIFER Call for Proposal is now open for competitive tender
The Invitation To Tender (ITT) on the DUE, "Aquifer", Ref. AO4645 in the ESA Invitations to Tender, has been published today on EMITS with a closing date of 27 May 2004.
The European Space Agency (ESA) hereby invites all companies from DUE participating countries to submit a tender for the Aquifer procurement.
If companies are not yet registered as an ESA bidder, they are invited to obtain access to EMITS by completing a questionnaire, which can be found at the indicated URL, section Registration Request.

Aquifer project

Lack of access to safe drinking water is a problem of dimensions: More than one billion people are affected worldwide today, and it is estimated that by 2025 this number could grow to three billion people. Africa is particularly touched, with more than half the population without access to clean water. Over-pumping of ground water are causing water tables to fall. Shared water resources are becoming more and more a source of conflict both within and between countries. Transboundary river basins have been on the agenda for a number of years, but internationally shared (transboundary) aquifers have not been in focus until recently. This is partially due to the hidden nature of ground water resources, making them difficult to evaluate and, consequently, resulting in a lack of reliable information on which to base discussions and decisions. With a large and increasing number of cases of international tension and conflicts related to shared groundwater resources, there is an urgent need for objective, spatial information that can be accepted as such by the different countries sharing an aquifer and used effectively in its management.

At the Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) space-based techniques received considerable recognition, resulting in a number of concrete recommendations on how space can be used for sustainable development. Article 27 of the WSSD Plan of Implementation refers to water, space and developing countries: “Improve water resource management and scientific understanding of the water cycle through cooperation in joint observation and research, and for this purpose encourage and promote knowledge-sharing and provide capacity-building and the transfer of technology, as mutually agreed, including remote-sensing and satellite technologies, particularly to developing countries and countries with economies in transition.” As a concrete action, the European Space Agency launched, within the frame of the CEOS WSSD Follow-up Programme adopted in November 2002, a new initiative focusing on “Earth Observation for Integrated Water Resources Management in Africa”, called the TIGER Initiative. In this context, a close cooperation has been established between ESA and UNESCO. The TIGER Initiative will contribute to the achievements of the objectives of the UNESCO IHP-VI “Water Interactions Systems at Risks Social Challenges” 2002-2007 Programme, which aims at supporting the African countries to better manage their water resources. TIGER comprises two major elements: (i) a set of individual demonstrator projects with a limited geographic coverage and scope, which are “building blocks” of (ii) the political process, which aims at developing long-term, large-scale, sustainable information services for better decision making through the involvement of financing institutions and other partners who have a long-term strategic mandate related to development issues.

The Aquifer project will be one of the TIGER demonstrator projects. The primary objective of the project consists of developing and demonstrating products and services, based on Earth Observation (EO) technology, aimed at supporting national authorities and international institutions in the management of internationally shared (transboundary) aquifers. This means that the developed products and services must respond effectively to the needs of these users. The information requirements of the user sector include land-use and land-cover maps, change maps, surface water extent and dynamics, digital terrain models and estimation of water consumption and extraction. Based on this information, the Contractor shall define, implement, validate and deliver products and services matching this set of requirements so as to provide the users with reliable, accurate, updated and timely information in a cost-effective manner, and covering their defined areas of interest. The users will then use the products and perform an assessment. In order to ensure a successful use and assessment the Contractor shall support the integration of the products and services within the user’s traditional working procedures by implementing training and capacity building activities.

Furthermore, this project aims at fostering the operational use of Earth Observation products within the user group in particular, but also within an extended user community. For this, the Contractor shall promote the use of Earth Observation products within an extended user community by preparing and implementing a user-oriented promotion plan.

Finally, the project aims at exploiting the African expertise in remote sensing and preparing for a locally provided service delivery after the project. The Contractor will ensure this in particular by attributing production and delivery work packages to the already identified Local Providers, and, more generally, by involving them throughout the entire project in all tasks and decision processes where adequate and by providing them with support and training where and as needed.

In summary, the project aims at developing and demonstrating products and services that are useful to the users, and facilitating their uptake in the daily working operations by integrating them into the users’ already operational GIS. For achieving this, advantage shall be taken of the resources and capabilities of the user countries, which shall on the other hand be complemented by capacity building activities in order to lay the ground for a local, independent service provision capacity, which is a key to achieve the longer-term goal of sustainability.

Related links

EMITS: ESA Electronic Mail Invitation to Tender System

IHP: UNESCO International Hydrological Programme

ISARM: International Shared Aquifer Resource Management project

Annex images