ISRO begins terrain mapping

This will be of great help to the local administration in tackling water shortage

“The technology will help the local administration in identifying places through this terrain mapping for water storage. Also, along these bunds the farmers can grow water intensive crops like paddy and other crops,” said  ISRO, Chairman G Madhavan Nair on the sidelines of a national Conference here on Thursday.

Currently, the terrain mapping for water storage areas has been implemented in seven districts of Karnataka.  A total of 36,833 micro watersheds have been identified  and delineated in the State according to Agriculture Minister S A Ravindranath.

Ravindranath, who inaugurated the conference, said the Sujala Watershed Development Project has become a model in the country. “This model has been replicated in six districts of the State with the funding support from the National Infrastructure Development Fund of NABARD,” he said.

The move has been initiated by ISRO after a request and proposal made by the State Agriculture Department to identify the water catchment areas in the State.

Central Database:

ISRO also plans to maintain a central database of the terrains identified for water storage with the latest, indigenously developed advanced imaging cameras mounted on their Remote Sensing Satellites to cover the whole country. The revisit period of the satellite to the same location spans between 2 to 26 days. 

The ISRO chief was addressing a gathering of delegates from across the country at the National Conference on “Challenge and Opportunities of Bioindustrial Watershed Development for the prosperity of the Farming Community” organised by the Soil Conservation Society of India (SCSI).

Delivering the Chairman’s address at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) campus, Nair said that over 90 per cent of the available water through the rain is being lost being lost without proper storage facilities. “We need to revisit the traditional usage of water storage facilities,” he added.


Using the IRS satellite, ISRO has been able to identify nearly 64 million hectare of wasteland in 1998 under the “National Wastelands Updation Mission” sponsored by the Ministry of Rural Development, India. Since then the Ministry launched various programmes to recover these wastelands. “By the year 2003-05 through the remote sensing satellites we were able to see the difference where nearly 9 hectare of land was recovered. Such programmes need to continue and develop for food security in the country,” he said. Nair on the occasion was also awarded the first Bhoo Ratna Award given by the SCSI in the country.

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