Could NASA satellites help with decision making during drought conditions?
That's what researchers at the University of Colorado are trying to figure out. The school received a $1.4 million grant from NASA on March 6 to study California's drought conditions using NASA satellite data.
"California is such as interesting place to study water, because of the cycles of drought to floods," lead researcher Noah Molotch said.
Molotch, along with a couple other scientists, are collaborating with the California Department of Water Resources on the research. According to the grant terms, the study is expected to run through January 2020.
The primary focus is drought years 2012-15. The researchers hope to gain a better understanding of how imbalances between supply and demand affect water management.
Molotch said the state is in a strange situation where we're still technically under a drought, but the flood risk is also quite high. The recent wet weather does not mean California is in the clear either.
"One wet winter is not going to give us the water surplus that we need to make up for long-term deficit," he said.