Oklahoma Water Resources Center

2008 Funded Projects

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Evaluation of Water Use Monitoring by Remote Sensing ET Estimation Methods 

Principal Investigators and Department:
Dr. Yang Hong and Dr. Baxter Vieux, School of Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences, University of Oklahoma

Evapotranspiration (ET) is the combined amount of water that evaporates from the ground and is transpired through plants. This is typically measured by placing a small weather station near the area of interest; however, monitoring water consumption through ET over large regions with this method is almost impossible. With the advent of new satellite technology and comprehensive water balance models, opportunities exist to develop methods that provide water resource managers with tools that estimate water use over large areas.

This project will evaluate and improve remote sensing ET estimation methods and tailor them for use in Oklahoma. Accuracy of these improved methods will be evaluated using Mesonet and other in-situ observations. Improved water/drought management and possibly flood forecasting are contributions expected from this research.

An Assessment of Environmental Flows for Oklahoma

Principal Investigators and Department:
Dr. Bill Fisher and Dr. Don Turton, Natural Resource Ecology and Management, Oklahoma State University

Previous Oklahoma water plans considered only consumptive water uses; however, there is a need to include non-consumptive, environmental flows that sustain aquatic animals and plants in any planning effort. River ecologists and conservationists generally agree that a regulated river needs to mimic the five components of the natural flow regime: magnitude, timing, frequency, duration, and rate of change and predictability of flow events, plus the sequence of these conditions.

This project will use the Hydroecology Integrity Assessment Process (HIP) developed by the U. S. Geological Survey to assess environmental flows in Oklahoma’s perennial streams. The HIP is a modeling tool that identifies 10 non-redundant hydrologic indices that are ecologically relevant, specific to stream classes, and characterize the five components. Results will be used to make environmental flow recommendations for the Water Plan.


Decision Support Model for Evaluating Alternative Water Supply Infrastructure Scenarios

Principal Investigators and Department:
Dr. Brian Whitacre and Dr. Arthur Stoecker, Agricultural Economics , Oklahoma State University; DeeAnn Sanders, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Oklahoma State University

This project will develop a step-by-step procedure that rural water systems can follow to assess their water supply infrastructure needs and will further assist in planning and locating funding for needed improvements. The process will be integrated into a single computer program that will take into account population projections, industrial growth projections, terrain, and road networks. Once various infrastructure alternatives have been identified, the process will assist with estimating the associated capital and operating costs. Methods for financing these costs, including grants and loans available at both the state and federal level, will be summarized.

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