Make it Rain: The Water Cycle from Precipitation to Sanitation

Category: Monitoring Drought
Project Team: Middle East Water Resources
Team Location: NASA Langley Research Center – Hampton, Virginia

Average precipitation from all available GPM images for the region (March 2014 through January 2016), interpolated using the inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation technique. Image Credit: Middle East Water Resources Team

Average precipitation from all available GPM images for the region (March 2014 through January 2016), interpolated using the inverse distance weighted (IDW) interpolation technique. Image Credit: Middle East Water Resources Team

Authors:
Hannah Rosenblum
Vishal Arya
Michael Sclater
Raghda El-Behaedi
Brad Schroeder
Labreshia Mims

Mentors/Advisors:
Dr. Kenton Ross (NASA Langley Research Center)

Past/Other Contributors:
Emily Gotschalk (Center Lead)
Tyler Rhodes (Center Lead)

Abstract:

Water resources are declining in the Middle East as a result of the combination of diminished supply from overexploitation and drought, increased demand due to growing populations, and inadequate infrastructure. Water shortages have led to sanitation issues in schools and, in severe cases, even school closures. Rainwater harvesting is an eco-friendly, low-tech, and cost-effective method of collecting and storing water for local use. The Water Resources Action Project Inc. (WRAP) provides rain barrels and cisterns to underserved schools in the region to increase their water resources for sanitation purposes. This study used data from Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission (TRMM), Global Precipitation Measurement (GPM), and other NASA Earth observations to quantify and visualize precipitation to identify locations most suitable for rainwater harvesting. Results indicate that precipitation is greatest in the north, nearest to the Mediterranean Sea, and along the Jordan Rift Valley. The team created a climatology which characterizes the precipitation regime of the region, as well as an interactive interface to help WRAP determine which schools would benefit most from their assistance. The interface will be shared with the schools to which WRAP provides rainwater harvesting systems as an educational tool that can be used to improve students’ understanding of the region’s precipitation and climate as well as Geographic Information Systems and other monitoring and analysis technologies.

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