Bringing science and technology from the United States National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region provides an opportunity for enhanced understanding of natural resources and improved decision-making. The programme Modelling and Monitoring Agriculture and Water Resources Development (MAWRED), which develops advanced data generation as well as mapping and modelling skills in local MENA researchers, bridges the gap between policymaking and the complex science behind many applications. One of the project's foundation stones has been the building of partnerships between international donors, researchers and local government ministries/agencies in the programme's key countries of Tunisia, Iraq, the West Bank/Gaza and Yemen. Given the region's political turbulence, this process can be complex and dynamic. However, it brings huge rewards through understanding in greater detail the region's water balance, especially with regard to agricultural use and the potential impacts of climate change on food and water security.