Water Auditing Control Room

Real-time insight in irrigated water use

South Africa is facing a severe water shortage. The expectation is that water demand will exceed water supply between 2025 and 2030. Irrigation is currently by far the biggest water user in South Africa. In 2000, irrigation extracted 63% of the country’s available surface water.

To regulate the amount of water being used for irrigation, South Africa introduced a water licensing mechanism in the National Water Act (NWA).

Auditing on compliance of water allocation is currently a major challenge for water managers in South Africa. For example, the Inkomati Usuthu Catchment Management Agency (IUCMA) needs to monitor over 50.000 farmers spread over an area of 40.000 km2. This makes it virtually impossible to monitor the water use by farmers in a conventional way, leading to non-compliance and unequal use of water resources.

The Water Auditing Control Room provides water managers like the IUCMA with a monitoring tool that greatly enhances the effectiveness of the agency.  The dashboards shows the historical and current water use through irrigation by farmers based on satellite data from eLEAF. The water use is compared with the water allocations to identify the farms with excessive water use.

Since the Water Auditing Control Room has been implemented, the water use from irrigation has been significantly reduced. This tool has supported IUCMA to raise awareness among famers by showing them their water use in comparison with other farms.