River systems are essential resources for everything from drinking water supply to power generation – but these systems are also hydrologically complex, and it is not always clear how water flow data from various monitoring points relates to any specific piece of infrastructure.
River systems are essential resources for everything from drinking water supply to power generation – but these systems are also hydrologically complex, and it is not always clear how water flow data from various monitoring points relates to any specific piece of infrastructure. Researchers from Cornell University and North Carolina State University have now developed a tool that draws from multiple databases to give water resource managers and infrastructure users the information they need to make informed decisions about water use on river networks.
“A streamgage tells you what the water level is at a specific point in the river – but that’s not really enough information,” says Sankar Arumugam, co-author of a paper on the work and a professor of civil engineering at NC State. “If you are an infrastructure operator, what you really need to know is how long it will take for that water-level information to be relevant to your infrastructure. How far away is the streamgage from your water intake along the river path, not just as the crow flies? How closely connected are those two things, hydrologically?”
“This information is important for managing water systems efficiently, for ensuring that infrastructure – such as power plants – are able to continue operating, and for protecting the infrastructure,” says Sudarshana Mukhopadhyay, first author of the paper and currently a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell University. “The information is particularly important during extreme conditions, such as flooding or drought.
Read more at: North Carolina State University
University of Oregon doctoral student Monika Ruwaimana, right, collects peat core samples with team members at a site on Borneo. The team's study, published in Environmental Research Letters, resets the dating of what may the world's oldest peatlands and provides an archive of new data on climate changes in the tropical peat. (Photo Credit: Dan Gavin)