Posted 6 February 2020 in DFMS, Earth Observation, News, Space.
  • Drought and Flood Mitigation Service (DFMS) is a project part-funded by the UK Space Agency through their International Partnership Programme.
  • DFMS is supported by the Ugandan Government to help mitigate the impact of drought and flood in Ugandan society, providing information that enables improved water, environmental and agricultural management.

The Drought and Flood Mitigation Service (DFMS), part-funded through the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Programme (IPP), has been awarded extra funding to demonstrate the service to the Government of Uganda. This increase brings the UK Government’s grant to £4.6M (22.1 billion Ugandan Shillings).

The DFMS project, led by RHEA Group, was created to help decision-makers in Uganda mitigate the impacts of droughts and floods and enable senior officials to take better-informed decisions around water, environment and agricultural management in Ugandan society. DFMS provides this information through access to robust meteorological, hydrological, and other Earth observation information. 

In response to this further financial commitment, the Government of Uganda, across its various departments, will commit to trialing the service and provide feedback on the usefulness and user experience. This appraisal of the value for money DFMS provides, will support the decision on funding the service themselves beyond the initial Demonstration Phase.

Female farmers working in the Napak Fields in Uganda

“The further commitment from the UK Space Agency and the Ugandan Government demonstrates the positive impact DFMS will have on Ugandan society, especially with the growing issue and unpredictability of climate change.”

Paul Healy, DFMS Project Manager, RHEA Group

DFMS Project Manager, Paul Healy, from the RHEA Group said, “The further commitment from the UK Space Agency and the Ugandan Government demonstrates the positive impact DFMS will have on Ugandan society, especially with the growing issue and unpredictability of climate change. Historically whole crops can be wiped out, resulting in villagers’ livelihoods being destroyed, potential famine and the spread of diseases through the lack of water. To be able to understand and mitigate potential future disasters in a country that is prone to drought and floods is a great project to be involved.”

Chris Lee, the UK Space Agency’s Chief Scientist and Head of Sustainable Development, said: “IPP is about developing trusted partnerships across government, industry, academia and local communities. Our extra commitment to DFMS supports work to prove its concept and use to the Government of Uganda, and ultimately provide the people of Uganda with forecasting information to help them respond to the effects of climate change on agriculture.”

Geert Jan Heusinkveld, RHEA Group’s Country Manager in Uganda, added, “Providing Uganda with access to informed meteorological, hydrological, and Earth observation data could contribute to reducing both humanitarian and financial losses. Many departments within the Ugandan Government are very supportive of these types of projects, and we look forward to working with them more closely over the next few years.”

DFMS was created as a cloud-based platform that transforms environmental data into actionable information and allows professional users access via an online portal. Once active, DFMS will be operated by those who developed it, providing the service to decision-makers in both public and private organizations in the water, environmental, and agriculture sectors in Uganda.

Notes for editors

Press contact: Isabelle Roels, Phone: (+32) 0491/32.20.25


About DFMS

DFMS is developed in cooperation with the Government of Uganda, led by the Ministry of Water and Environment, and receives funding through the UK’s International Partnership Programme, administered by the UK Space Agency. The DFMS Project is implemented by a Consortium of UK organisations, led by the RHEA Group and includes the Met Office, HR Wallingford, Pixalytics, Environment Systems, Databasix, AA International, AgriTechTalk Africa, MercyCorps and Oxford Policy Management.

Farmers holding the soil in their hands that is used for farming

About RHEA Group

RHEA Group is a privately-owned professional engineering and solutions company, providing bespoke engineering solutions, system development and security services for space, military, government and other critical national infrastructure organizations. Since its creation in 1992, RHEA has built a reputation as a trusted partner, developing tailored solutions that help drive organizational and cultural initiatives, leading to sustainable added value for its customers.

Headquartered in Belgium for its European operations and in Montreal for its North American operations, RHEA Group numbers in excess of 500 people and has offices in Belgium, UK, Czech Republic, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, Switzerland, the Netherlands and in Canada, and works at clients’ premises throughout Europe and North America. RHEA is ISO 9001 and ISO 27001 certified.