Their involvement is a real guarantee of the efficiency and sustainability of the approach.

However, you can only manage what you can measure! This means that we need to have an accurate and precise view of the resources available, the uses to which they are put (drinking water, agriculture, energy, etc.) and the associated ecosystems. 

To make sustainable development a reality and adapt to the impacts of climate change, we need to improve our knowledge and the circulation of information to better inform the decision-making process.

Improved data management must therefore be sought at every stage, from production, processing and validation of reliability to sharing and dissemination.

The creation and strengthening of reliable, sustainable and shared Water Information Systems (WIS) must also be supported. These systems provide the knowledge that is essential for the sustainable management of water resources, in terms of both quantity and quality, across a wide range of issues such as droughts, floods, rainfall, evaporation, river flows…

Data collection can be improved by combining multiple conventional and innovative sources and sensors.

  • Combining a reliable network of in situ stations, capable of calibrating and validating the data collected, with technological advances.
  • Satellites (for altimetry and imagery). For example, the new SWOT (Surface Water Ocean Topography) satellite dedicated to collecting altimetry data, launched on 16 December 2022, has marked the history of space hydrology by making it possible for the first time to study almost all of the Earth’s surface waters.

Furthermore, the contributions of remote sensing (satellite data and images, drones) and crowdsourcing through citizen science based on information and communication technologies (ICTs) are also very promising.

In a spirit of general interest, INBO therefore promotes better cooperation through the sharing of this data, between sectors and at various geographical levels, as well as its dissemination to water users, while respecting the competences of each data producer.

The production and processing of data should not be limited to purely sectoral silos, but should instead be part of an integrated information system. This is a key element of integrated water resource management, which encompasses not only water resources but also data on land use, agricultural practices, biodiversity and environmental health, for example.

A successful approach to building knowledge through data management and the development of water information systems is essential for strategic planning. But this success never depends on technical factors alone. Shared governance and the ability to put in place sustainable funding mechanisms are also decisive factors. 

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