California water officials to meet with NASA, discuss drought

Feb. 25, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — NASA tracks aquifer levels using satellites and various methods.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Officials from the California Department of Water Resources are meeting with NASA this week to discuss the state's ongoing drought, according to an article by Southern California Public Radio.

NASA tracks the levels of underground aquifers using satellites, noted the article, and will use that information to inform conversations about how to keep water supplies from getting dangerously low.

"As you pump water out of an aquifer the ground actually does subside or sink," said NASA geologist Tom Farr.

NASA sends radar signals to earth from the satellites to measure changes in surface elevation, the article reported, with increased pumping, drought and increased rain all affecting the ground level.

According to the article, NASA also uses data from the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) to monitor groundwater levels by measuring the mass of the Earth at various locations.

Farr explained that too much pumping can permanently damage an aquifer: “The aquifer system collapses to the point where it can no longer take in water," he said. "So you actually lose the ability to store water if you pump too much and it collapses too much.”

Read the full article here.

See Water Technology’s continuing coverage of the California water crisis here:

California governor declares state of emergency

WRD issues statement supporting California state of emergency declaration

Napa Valley vineyards could face reduced yield in 2014

PWQA donates $2,500 to Community Water Center

California organizations to host 2014 Drought Briefing

California irrigation equipment sales spike due to drought

Californians focus on desal to help ease drought issues

California’s drought could lead to contaminated groundwater

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