Skip to content

Satellite Technology reduces the impact of flood and drought in Uganda

Extreme weather events are causing significant shifts in the productivity of agricultural activities posing a danger to food security and yield production. Improving weather forecasts is essential when it comes to dealing with the effects of climate change and save agricultural investments.

In response to these threats, the UK Space Agency and a consortium of UK companies led by RHEA Group, are working in partnership with the Ugandan Ministry of Water and Environment and the Ugandan National Meteorological Association (UNMA) to effectively develop and implement a solution that can anticipate and proactively respond to these weather irregularities.

The Drought and Flood Mitigation Service (DFMS) uses localised weather forecasts, combined with the latest satellite and ground-based data and the derivation of improved drought and flood models. The application delivers high-quality, timely, geo-information to its users, enabling them to efficiently respond to both, possible negative and positive, effects of forecasts on agriculture and livestock production.

The Technology Behind DFMS

DFMS uses the Environment Early Warning Platform (EWP) to communicate with local farmers on actions to be taken throughout the growing season to maximise crop yields and protect their livestock. The EWP will assimilate a range of diverse data sources, ranging from satellite and meteorological data to community/mobile sources that are obtained in the field. The system will use cloud technologies for flexible deployment and processing

EWP includes data from seasonal forecasts, linked hydrological modelling for drought and flood, satellite imagery from Copernicus and other missions, soil moisture, land surface temperature, water level extents, radar images, and land cover classification. The accumulation of this data will be displayed on a secure, reliable, platform, accessible via an open data cube.

The region: Karamoja, Uganda

DFMS initially will work in the Karamoja region of Uganda, an area with high levels of poverty and vulnerability, where 10% of the total population lives (more than one million people). Their farmers currently receive weather forecast information via the radio, and they also use their indigenous methods to predict rainfall. Unlike the current weather prognostications methods, DFMS provides parish level of detail, ensuring more specific and accurate data.

Currently, the effects of climate change impact an estimate of 80% of the Ugandan population. Irregular weather patterns, such as the timing of the onset of the rainy season and the reliability and intensity of precipitation, are increasing crop failure, soil erosion, and land degradation disrupting both small-holder livelihoods as well as agricultural businesses.

Drought and Flood Mitigation Service