News | November 7, 2017

ESA Awards Blue Desert Project To Blue-Value

Consortium’s software solution will monitor groundwater in desert areas using IoT and satellite Earth observation technology

Following a call for feasibility studies for space-based services integrating the Internet of Things (IoT), the European Space Agency (ESA) has awarded the Blue Desert project to the consortium Blue-Value.

Utilising space-based assets and IoT technology, Blue Desert will conduct a feasibility study for the development of an integrated monitoring & control service to assist customers in desert areas to manage groundwater resources.

Groundwater is depleting rapidly. Global population growth and high water consumption in combination with severe climate change is resulting in catastrophic water shortages in many areas of the world. For example, Abu Dhabi’s groundwater reserves are set to run out in 50 years if no action is taken.

Using IoT sensor data and satellite imagery and infrastructure information, the Blue-Value solution delivers real-time insight into water usage, quality and environmental effects. This will all made be available via an easy-to-use, intuitive web application and a mobile phone app.

The integrated software solution enables services such as automated well monitoring, water abstraction metering and remote waterpump control. It will increase revenues for water authorities and decrease Non-Revenue Water for utilities. At the same time, the solution will enable farmers, miners, constructors and other users of water to manage the quantity and quality of this precious resource.

Associates of the project are: International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre (IGRAC), Thuraya Satellites (UAE), SamTech Middle East (UAE) and the Netherlands Space Office (NSO). The consortium has received expressions of interest from leading hydro engineering firms including Royal HaskoningDHV and Witteveen+Bos from the Netherlands, as well as water sensor manufacturers.

Simon van den Dries, co-founder of Blue-Value added: “The award of this project shows great recognition of the work done and the opportunity that we foresee here. It is vitally important that steps are taken to value and use water much more wisely and effectively.”

The Blue Desert Project was presented for the first time during the Amsterdam International Water Week on November 1, 2017.

About Blue Desert:
Blue Desert is an ESA-funded commercial and technical feasibility study for the monitoring of groundwater in desert areas using space assets. For more information, visit

About Blue-Value:
Blue-Value is a consortium formed by Rencos and 52impact of the Netherlands. Rencos provides satellite and cellular IoT connectivity for the water sector whereas 52impact provides Earth observation services and software development. For more information, visit

About ESA:
The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space. It is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world. ESA’s Business Applications programme transforms research and development investment into services that benefit our daily lives. For more information, visit

About IGRAC:
International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre is UNESCO and WMO affiliated centre that facilitates and promotes international sharing of information and knowledge required for sustainable groundwater resources development and management worldwide. For more information, visit

About Thuraya:
Geostationary satellite operator that provides coverage over EMEA+ Asia Pacific and has been delivering new satellite IoT services since 2016. For more information, visit

About SamTech Middle-East:
IoT service provider in the Middle-East providing installation, delivery and maintenance of IoT services in the transport (buses, police cars), environmental (garbage collection) and water business. For more information, visit

SOURCE: Blue-Value