Viers, Hestir to quantify California water use with NASA support

Dry landscape.

CITRIS at UC Merced leadership is working to quantify water use in California’s Central Valley.

As part of a NASA Water Resources program project, Joshua Viers, campus director, and Erin Hestir, campus associate director, will collaborate with Bay Area startup Point Blue Conservation Science and the Merced County Grassland Water District to develop novel algorithms that mine satellite data. Because satellites typically track surface water, mining the data will allow the researchers to determine the extent, depth and duration of flooded fields and wetlands.

“It is incredibly important that we work with local agencies and water districts to understand their information needs, and that we provide actionable outcomes from our research in return,” Viers said. “The tools and insights we are developing here will aid in data-driven decision making across the Valley and beyond.”