Pakistan received below normal (-21.6%) rainfall from January to April 2022. As a result of climatic anomalies manifesting as an abrupt increase in daily maximum temperature and limited irrigation water availability for Kharif crops, a drought-like situation developed and continued to worsen until June 2022, badly affecting agriculture, water resources, and livestock.

Contrastingly, since the start of the monsoon season in mid-June 2022, the country witnessed exceptionally heavy rainfall, receiving about three times as much precipitation as the 30-year average. The consequences unfolded in the form of severe floods that affected over 33 million people, damaged 1.5 million homes and 800 medical institutions, and killed 1400 people. 3.6 million acres of crops were devastated, and 800,000 animals perished.

Being the most recent example, the floods of 2022 are notable; however, recurring floods have been a norm for several decades in Pakistan. Water scarcity episodes followed by flooding events demands human intelligence and technological intervention for proper administration, to protect lives and valuable resources needed to sustain life.

Consequences in case of inaction can include: Deaths, Health Issues, Food Scarcity, Sustainability and Economical Damage.

Problem Definition
Since floods and droughts are two common hydrological disasters, rainwater management is incredibly important in fostering resilience for nourishing sustainable communities. Effective rainwater management requires water storage for irrigation, groundwater recharge, and domestic use, reducing strain on our existing water supplies and promoting sustainability.

Satellites assist in observing rainfall patterns, measuring soil moisture levels, and monitoring water bodies such as rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. With this information, water resource managers can assess the availability and distribution of rainfall, identify areas prone to flooding or drought, and make informed decisions about water allocation and local interventions. Furthermore, by providing insights into the spatial relationships between land use, impervious surfaces, and drainage networks, GIS helps in addressing urban flooding. Additionally, space technologies enable the development of advanced weather forecasting models that improve rainfall predictions, vital for planning and implementing effective rainwater harvesting, suitable areas for water storage, as well as efficient utilization of rainwater by assessing the needs of groundwater recharge using GRACE satellite and mapping green spaces, impervious surfaces, as well as water bodies using satellite-based indices.

There exist numerous examples of space-based studies in the developing world for locating rainwater harvesting sites in different mountainous regions using geospatial techniques i.e., Kotli, Azad Kashmir and Gurriala, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa catchments, and urban flooding management in rapidly grown cities of Peshawar, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Lahore, Punjab. In majority of the developing world, the scope of rainwater management is limited to collecting rooftop water. This is primarily due to lack of awareness on the use of space technology to visualize larger perspectives; using satellite data for managing resources over bigger areas to evolve long-term plans. Therefore, there is a serious need for supporting capacity building and knowledge-sharing initiatives to other actors in the water sector for their better understanding of spatial patterns and connections, informed decision-making, and developing sustainable water management strategies on large spatial scales.

It’s time for Space4Water community to embrace the allied water stakeholders like rainwater harvesting community, helping them by providing space applications support and establishing their geospatial wings.

If you would like to help develop a problem description that addresses the above described situation and breaks it into sets of challenges that can be solved by applying space-based technology or data please reach out to Dr. Mahmood (his contact details are available at his profile page linked above) and Cc. office[at] Don't forget to share the Challenge-ID you are referring to in your email.
Success criteria
A system that can hold the extra water and supply it during dry times
Climate Zone
Related SDGs