An interesting article has just popped up that made me think about earth observation and water charges. Obviously a topic fraught with politics and economics but its likely that remote sensing will play a role in the application of a site tax and attendant charges (indeed there are research groups in Ireland circling around the issue-mostly based on GIS analysis of existing or new databases).
But a positive spin on spy-in-the-sky angle comes from the article in Directions Magazine. In it it describes a new project between a company called geostella and geo-eye. Geostella have created a method to calculate solar energy production potential from roof tops based on analysis of roofs in satellite imagery. It brings roof slope, area, aspect and local weather into the mix and sells on the maps to home owners, utility companies, installers etc and is doing very well.
It occurs to me that the model needed to calculate rain capture potential is much simpler (area of roof, daily rainfall figures) and we could generate a house by house rain collection potential map for the major cities (as rainwater from houses goes into the drainage system and out to sea- it can’t see how intercepting a large percentage of this would have any negative impacts – but im willing to be enlightened).