Alabama Water Quality: What’s in Your Water?

Earthzine2015 Spring VPS, Monitoring Water Quality and Hydrology

Category: Monitoring Water Quality and Hydrology
Project Team: Alabama Water Resources
Team Location: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center – Huntsville, Alabama

Image of Water Surface Temperature Using Landsat 7, Feb. 26, 2001. Image Credit: Alabama Water Resources Team

Leigh Sinclair
Jazmin Jackson
Timothy Klug
Dawn White

Dr. Jeffrey Luvall (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center)
Dr. Robert Griffin (University of Alabama in Huntsville)

According to the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM), 65 percent of the water in Alabama community water systems comes from lakes, rivers, and streams. The water from these sources is treated by disinfection, sedimentation and filtration. Current methods of inland water quality monitoring in Alabama require data from field sampling, which can be inconsistent and expensive, and can provide insufficient information about water bodies as a whole. The Alabama Water Watch (AWW) is a volunteer-driven organization that trains community members to test and monitor water quality in the state. AWW has received more than 79,000 water quality data forms from volunteers on 825 water bodies in Alabama. NASA Earth observations from Landsat and Suomi NPP present innovative and cost-effective techniques for monitoring water quality parameters such as turbidity, suspended sediments, chlorophyll-a, and surface water temperature. These observations can be easily integrated into hydrologic watershed models, using the images to predict the index of a water quality parameter and apply in situ measurements to validate the results. The purpose of this project was to demonstrate how freely available NASA Earth observation imagery can be used to remotely predict the water quality parameters of rivers, streams, and lakes in Alabama.

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