Mapping Water: Global Challenge, Local Solutions
The ability to model the availability and movement of water is a huge asset for countries and regions seeking to respond to natural disasters or develop plans to manage resources sustainably under climate variability and human alterations of the landscape. Similar to the Deforestation Monitor project supported by Google, which provides local capacity to developing countries to preserve their forests, this project is creating a framework within the Google Earth Engine (EE) for integrating and interpreting public domain data for predicting water quantity and quality as well as hazard-prone regions under changing climate, policy or management. The researchers will apply this framework to several basins, including one in India and one in East Africa.
In India, the project will examine the Himalayan-fed Koshi River, whose avulsing nature claims thousands of lives from flooding and stresses food production.
In East Africa, the researchers will study the consequences of climate change, inadequate infrastructure and a growing population heavily relying on subsistence for the integrity of Lake Malawi.
Year 1 Progress Report (January 2012)
Researchers on this team are developing scenarios to better understand the linkages between the regional Indian economy and the hydrologic system on which it depends. They have identified hydrologic trends and intensified variability in monsoonal rainfall in the agricultural regions of Telangana and Punjab and are using the contrasting hydrogeologies of these regions (shallow vs. deep aquifers) to study linkages among hydrologic change, agricultural practices and regional economics. During the summer of 2012, the team will be in India visiting the research sites, gathering additional data and meeting with Indian collaborators whose local knowledge is essential to the success of this project.