2017 NASA Water Resources Team Supports Water Resources Management


Annual NASA Water Resources Team meeting provides a forum for water resources community to exchange information, share updates and collaborate.

NASA Water Resources Team Meeting attendees at the California Institute of Technology. Image Credit: Christine Lee

The annual NASA Water Resources team meeting was held at the California Institute of Technology on July 18-19, 2017, with more than 65 participants. The overarching purpose of the meeting was to provide a forum for the NASA-supported water resources community of principal investigators (PIs), water resources partners and stakeholders to exchange information, share updates and collaborate on remote sensing applications for water resources management.

The meeting also brought together users and stakeholders from the U.S. western states in an effort to leverage activities across the newly launched NASA Western Water Applications Office, based at NASA Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California, with team members located at other NASA Centers, such as Ames Research Center and Goddard Space Flight Center. As a result, the meeting included project overviews that focused on progress related to development of remote sensing applications, partner engagement and transition to operations, as well as discussion periods that highlighted the importance of impact assessment, stakeholder communications, lessons learned and emerging topics and priorities for the water resources management community.  

NASA Water Resources Program Manager Dr. Brad Doorn kicked off the meeting with an introduction that highlighted the vision and strategic direction of the program, which was then followed by a series of PI presentations from the NASA Applied Sciences Water Resources portfolio on addressing water resource issues across the U.S. These presentations included improving estimates of crop water demand to support irrigation and agricultural applications, snowmelt-streamflow estimates for water supply forecasting and flood assessments and water quality applications including detection and mapping of harmful algal blooms and modeling of nutrient loading.   

The NASA Western Water Applications Office (WWAO) also organized a panel discussion with representatives from the water management community including the Western States Water Council, Navajo Water Management Branch, the Southern Nevada Water Authority, California Department of Water Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Each panelist reflected on the use and value of Earth observations in the water community as well as the real-world practical challenges of introducing new datasets and technologies into day-to-day water management practices.

Another highlight of the meeting was led by Resources for the Future (RFF) and focused on understanding and quantifying the value of socioeconomic benefits of Earth science applications through the consortium for Valuation of Applications Benefits Linked with Earth Sciences (VALUABLES). In addition to providing an overview of the VALUABLES effort, RFF also facilitated a group discussion on how the value of information (VOI) for water resources can be derived. Several meeting attendees expressed interest in continuing to learn more about VOI methodologies and offered to provide cases that VALUABLES could use in future work.  

More information about the NASA Water Resources Program and the team meeting (including agenda, presentations, and our email Listserv) is available online.

Bradley Doorn is the program manager for the NASA Water Resources Application Area, within the NASA Earth Science Division, Applied Sciences Program. You may contact him at bradley.doorn@nasa.gov

John Bolten is a scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center. You may contact him at john.bolten@nasa.gov

Forrest Melton is a scientist with the Cooperative for Research in Earth Science and Technology at NASA Ames Research Center and California State University, Monterey Bay. You may contact him at forrest.s.melton@nasa.gov

Christine Lee is an engineer at NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory. You may contact her at Christine.m.lee@jpl.nasa.gov 

Sarah Brennan is an associate with Booz Allen Hamilton, working as program support for the NASA Water Resources Application Area. You may contact her at brennan_sarah@bah.com