Water in a Dry land - Can “Big Data” Help?
The American Southwest is constrained by the availability of water resources for social, economic and environmental systems. Better understanding of natural processes that control water availability in this region should aid in better management. In the big picture there are only two solutions to the water resource challenges in the region - use less water or find more water to use. As usual the interesting part is in the details of what water is available and how society can change to be more efficient and conservative with the water available to us. IN this talk I will discuss two areas of my research that touch on the grand challenge of meeting societies water resources needs in the face of a dry climate that appears to be getting drier and some musing about how data science could be brought to bear to face the scientific challenge. In the first vignette I will discuss the problem of climate change and understanding how groundwater recharge might change. The discussion will move from processes of recharge to our current regional understanding to estimates of how recharge might change in the future. In the second vignette I will discuss efforts to utilize rain water and storm water to meet some of the water resource needs to cities thus hopefully decreasing water demands that are generally met with imported water.