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Hydrology Bureau

Hydrology Bureau

Award of NASA Western Water Applications Office Grant

The New Mexico Office of the State Engineer Hydrology Bureau has been awarded funding from the NASA Western Water Applications Office in response to the Rio Grande Basin Needs Assessment Workshop in addressing critical water resources issues. The OSE Hydrology Bureau is partnering with a team of scientists at the Mountain Hydrology Group, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at CU Boulder, to develop an operational snow-water equivalent (SWE) analysis tool.

In this project, “Applying NASA Remote Sensing Capabilities to Improve Water Resources Management in the Rio Grande Basin Through a Better Understanding of Supply and Demand”, we are proposing to use multiple, well established, SWE products as an ensemble to better understand the distribution and quantity of snow-driven water supply within the Rio Grande Basin. The ensemble of near-real-time spatial estimates of SWE will be analyzed and compared to in-situ measurements from existing SNOTEL sites in the Rio Grande Basin to better understand product performance and uncertainty in estimating SWE across subbasins and elevation bands. This operational tool will be used throughout the mid/late winter to the end of the snowmelt season on an annual basis to improve our knowledge and spatial estimates of snow-water supply within the Rio Grande Basin. We are excited for this opportunity to continue to expand our knowledge in understanding water supply and demand and filling critical water resources data gaps for New Mexico.

Special thanks to the work of Max Gersh and Brad Wolaver in developing this outstanding proposal. Brad's experience with proposal writing and Max's deep understanding of snow hydrology and his passion for remote sensing capabilities were instrumental in aligning our efforts with the work of Dr. Karl Rittger at CU Boulder.