Nodes and Drones May Provide Water Conservation Solutions

University of California has been awarded $2.2 million to monitor hydrology

University of California has been awarded $2.2 million to monitor hydrology

The University of California has been granted $2.2 million by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in order to monitor hydrology across different landscapes using remote sensors. Specifically, the university will analyze its Natural Reserve System, a collection of land that exceeds 750,000 acres.

In order to monitor the hydrology of these areas, the university will equip water reserves with wireless sensor nodes. These nodes will be able to track weather, soil moisture, transpiration and a variety of other metrics to properly maintain the reserves. Beyond this, drones will also be deployed throughout the subject areas in order to monitor how vegetation changes along with the climate.

The overarching goal of this process of data collection is to paint a more detailed picture regarding how landscapes are altered as the climate changes. A more thorough understanding of such changes will potentially afford the state the ability to optimize water conservation throughout periods of drought and other inclimate stints.

The study will also attempt to better understand how water moves throughout landscapes, specifically smaller streams and tributaries. Roughly 100 million trees died during California’s last drought period, but with a better understanding of how water is distributed throughout the state, officials may have been able to drastically reduce that number through preparation.

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