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A new tool in water resource management: drones

25.03.2015

Although there’s a considerable infatuation in the media over civilian drones, their use in some economic realms is still unknown. And despite the fact that Amazon generated a lot of buzz when it announced its project to let customers have their packages delivered by drone, the potential of these new tools is far greater. With the development of new uses applied to agriculture, industry, protecting the environment or surveying construction sites, drones are on the verge of making a considerable contribution in terms of managing and safeguarding resources.

Often stigmatised as a major consumer of water, agriculture nevertheless spearheads more and more initiatives to preserve this resource that’s so indispensable to its development. And contrary to certain prejudices, the sector is known for its drive when it comes to finding new technologies. Among innovations in progress, the use of drones is being developed in most developed countries, promising to provide highly precise crop mappings with readings of vegetation or water stress indices. Use of these data makes it possible to optimally regulate water for crops in addition to phytosanitary products in an effort to cut down on their use.

Drones are not always where you expect them. Rather than have them fly above ground, SUEZ Environnement is currently carrying out a test of a completely different nature. The drones are essentially being used to carry out underground monitoring operations on 13 city reservoirs, allowing the city to avoid risks of wastewater being discharged into the ocean during heavy rainfalls.

Rich Trenholm/CNET – learn more

These two examples demonstrate the contribution of drones in managing and safeguarding water resources. In France, the United States and a number of other countries, evolving laws governing the use of these technologies may accelerate their development and their contribution.