A leading environmental consultancy has development funding from the UK Space Agency to help it develop a technological solution for water management and natural disaster response.

Shrewsbury-based GeoSmart Information is one of nine organisations across the country to have shared £85,000 to foster climate services innovation by developing UK business-viable ideas that use space data to address the impacts of climate change.

The fund is supported by Space4Climate, a not-for-profit membership organisation for the UK Earth Observation for climate community.

Paul Drury, director of product development at GeoSmart Information, said: “The UK space industry is a growing sector and space-derived data is an important asset that can be used to support with the challenges society faces in responding to weather hazards and climate change.

“Groundwater resources are vital to our survival and need to be better understood to ensure their sustainable usage. As a company that specialises in modelling this hazard, GeoSmart is well placed to lead this pioneering research and to develop innovative solutions that can support our clients in water management and disaster prediction.”

GeoSmart, a specialist in flood risk, drainage, groundwater and contaminated land, has existing technology that consumes rainfall forecasts derived from space for monitoring groundwater resources and predicting future hydrogeological conditions within the UK.

Through the integration of remotely sensed soil moisture data, it is expected this will improve the calibration and verification of this system. GeoSmart’s technology is used by water companies to monitor the water table and to predict future states at borehole observation points.

“This research will help with the prediction and monitoring of water scarcity and drought risks, as well as alerting users of the service of water abundance and flood risks,” said Paul.

“The integration of soil moisture data with groundwater forecasts, alongside seasonal climate forecasts from our project collaborator WeatherLogistics, would constitute a novel innovation for enhancing water management and natural disaster risk reduction activities.”

Beth Greenaway, head of earth observation and climate at UK Space Agency and chair of Space4Climate, praised the quality and innovative approach of all the applications. She said: “I am delighted to see this set of projects get started with UK Space Agency funding to enable the development of business models for commercial climate services based on space data.

“The number and quality of applications in this first climate services call shows the appetite and ability of UK companies to be innovative and at the forefront of using space to allow others to adapt or mitigate for climate change. We look forward to the Space4Climate community growing as these business opportunities progress.”

Recipients of the funding will develop a business viability presentation, setting out the vision for their climate service, how it could work, the core users and the route to market.

Krupa Nanda Kumar, climate services development manager at Space4Climate, said: “The UK is at the forefront of innovative applications of climate data from space for climate services. The awardees are a diverse range of projects across climate-related sectors and spread around the country. We are keen to support them and we look forward to the outcomes of their projects.”