Date archives "October 2018"

UK Space Agency IPP – HR Wallingford Tailings Dams Peru

UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme has 33 IPP projects across 33 countries, with 122 private sector, academic and NGO organisations consortiums members and 112 international partners. See more details on the IPP projects here.

A project with HR Wallingford is working to resolve is the issue of unstable and unsafe tailings dams in Peru. Tailings dams are earth embankments used to store toxic mine waste and effluent which can be more than 100m high. They are often constructed with steep slopes using the residual tailings to save on costs.

Their rate of failure is high, owing to inadequate design regulations and less rigorous construction methods than for normal water retaining dams. This can threaten populations downstream and adversely affect sensible environments. The rate of tailings dam failures is seen to be increasing, with 49% of serious tailings dam failures in the last 70 years occurring between 1990 and 2010 (Bowker and Chambers, 2015). Tailings dams often contain hazardous substances that can contaminate food chains and drinking water.

Funded by the UK Space Agency, HR Wallingford are working with a consortium from across the UK and Peru. The solution combines satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) interferometry and real-time Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) with a goal of achieving a high level of automation for dam monitoring. This technique will be less expensive and require less expertise to employ than existing monitoring. This tool will give government agencies the ability to monitor larger numbers of dams across remote regions and allow them to take proactive action and intervene.

During a recent visit to the UK from our Peruvian partners, the UK Space Agency was happy to host a meeting with representatives from Universidad Nacional de Cajamarca: Escuela de Ingeniería Hidráulica, Facultad de Ingeniería (National University of Cajamarca, School ofHydraulic Engineering and Faculty of Engineering), Fundación Nacional de Ingeniería Hidráulica (National Foundation for Hydraulic Engineering) and CIEMAM.

The UK Space Agency highly values the input of our international partners in our projects. Working with our Peruvian counterparts is essential for understanding the local context and the nature of the challenge. We value their expertise and commitment to the project.

More details on this project can be seen at –

References: Bowker, L.N.  and Chambers, D.M. (2015) The risk, public liability, and economics of tailings storage facility failures

SatSummit 2018 – Satellite Data for Global Development

David Taverner of Caribou Space presented for UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme at SatSummit 2018.

SatSummit convenes leaders in the satellite industry and experts in global development for in-depth conversations on solving the world’s most critical development challenges with satellite data. From climate change to population growth to natural resource availability, earth observation data offers insights into today’s biggest global issues.

The benefits of space for agriculture were presented, including:

  • Increase production through decision support tools and affordability of credit
  • Improve supply chain efficiency to reduce losses
  • Sustainable management of environmental resources and supply chain traceability
  • Resilience to climate change through accuracy of early warning systems and affordability of insurance

The forecast impacts of IPP’s agricultural portfolio were also presented, including:

  • Six projects (~£21M), in 8 countries, for potatoes, grapes, bananas, wheat, sugarcane, coffee, rice & palm oil
  • 3-5% yield gain for 5,000 farmers. One project aiming to double yields for 25,000 farmers
  • 5-25% increase in insurance penetration and 10% decrease in premiums, improving resilience to climate change
  • Improving efficiency and reducing losses from pests, disease, drought and floods
  • 1M hectares of land under sustainable management

Further information on the role of space and IPP programme’s efforts global agricultural challenges are available in this report: Space for Agriculture in Developing Countries.

UK Space Agency IPP – Inmarsat’s Satellite Technology to Promote Inclusive and Sustainable Fishing in Indonesia

The Indonesian fishing sector is a critical driver of the economy and society, supporting seven million fishers, and not only supports millions of households but is also part of a valuable global export business. However, environmentally unsustainable fishing, including illegal and unreported fishing, harms the entire value chain, as well as introducing safety and security challenges. Indonesian economic losses of up to US$20 billion a year are attributed to illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.

Fishing boats in Indonesia

This Inmarsat project, supported by UK Space Agency International Partnership Programme, is expanding the use of Vessel Monitoring Systems (VMS). VMS are systems used in commercial fishing to allow environmental and fisheries regulatory organisations to track and monitor the activities of fishing vessels. The project is designing additional services to be carried by VMS, and designing new operational protocols for policing and fisheries management, incentivising fishers to use VMS actively. Working with the Indonesian government to create the right processes to interpret and react to the data generated, will strengthen the surveillance capabilities of the Ministry, improve the policing of illegal fishing and of conservation areas, and move the industry onto a more sustainable and more profitable basis. Finally, it will provide valuable industry information on catches and sourcing.

UK Space Agency team visited Bali and Jakarta, Indonesia in August 2018. UKSA was invited to attend the four-day visit to Indonesia organised by Inmarsat. The visit presented an ideal opportunity to meet with all the project partners, to understand their contribution and interest in the project as part of the Mid Term Evaluation (MTE). UKSA’s role was to observe the MTE to see if it was conducted professionally and independently and to assess the degree to which the project is on track to achieve its outcomes and impacts towards project closure end June 2019.

Overall impression from the MTE was that the project looks very positive as some outcomes and potential impacts seem to be on the horizon with good stories of use of system in SAR (Search and Rescue) and adding value to all stakeholders. Processors and fishermen value the system and want to keep the system after the project ends – ensuring there is long term sustainability of the project’s benefits after the UKSA grant funding ends. VMS Regulation for <30GT vessels would be a key deciding factor for sustainability and seems to be welcome by many stakeholders. The equipment has proved to be highly effective in communicating critical and non-critical emergencies. The user fishers found it very useful while they are at sea to communicate with their family, fishing port, fellow fishers (including for more ice and spare parts). Even more so it is being used for emergency contact, safety/distress alerts and fishers welfare information. The pilot fleet of ~200 active <30 GT vessels are now transmitting VMS data on their position, speed and track for the first time in Indonesia.

More details on this project can be seen here: