A new technology, using sensors on satellites, could help to establish standards for the amount of water that farmers need to irrigate their crops, and help to optimize the use of that water, an increasingly scarce resource. The technology measures water productivity in agriculture, or the amount of a crop produced by a given volume of water, drawing on remote sensing data and satellite images to measure evaporation and yield.

The technology is known as 'Watpro' — short for water productivity. Watpro can help to identify where water is used productively and where it is squandered. Reasons for wasted water can be analyzed, allowing farmers, and agricultural policy makers, to establish best practice for irrigation in specific locations, with the aim of cutting down on water use without compromising the harvest.

To read about Watpro, please see the following New York Times article: Helping Farmers Conserve Water