Water Scarcity: How Technology Can Help Solve the Problem


Monday, April 12, 2010, 12:00pm to 1:00pm


124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 200-North, Room 226, Cambridge, MA

Mapping evapotranspiration imageryRichard Allen, University of Idaho
William J. Kramber, Idaho Department of Water Resources

About the Seminar
Because over 90 percent of Idaho’s water is used for irrigating agriculture and rainfall amounts remain low, regional water supply disputes continue to grow. In collaboration with the University of Idaho, Idaho’s Department of Water Resources was the first government agency in the nation to develop and use satellite-based evapotranspiration imagery to enhance the understanding of agricultural water usage in the state. Originally intended to track water evaporated from soil and transpired from vegetation, the state of Idaho has enjoyed multiple uses for evapotranspiration data beyond what was originally conceived, including improving wildlife habitats and settling litigation, and it has also resulted in significant cost savings.

The program has become a nationwide model for solving water-resource conflicts and improving water management, and it won the Innovations in American Government Award in 2009.

A light lunch will be served.

About the Speakers
Dr. Richard Allen is a professor of water resources engineering at the University of Idaho and leads their Water Resources Research Program. Allen specializes in evapotranspiration, irrigation water requirements, and hydrologic systems. His research focuses on developing physics-based approaches and tools to quantify and solve water-related problems, including water consumption over large areas using satellite-based energy balance. Allen was lead author of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization publication "Crop Evapotranspiration" that serves as an international practice standard. He has served as a consultant for national and international water resources programs and is a member of the NASA/USGS Landsat Science Team.

William J. Kramber is a senior remote sensing analyst at the Idaho Department of Water Resources where he has been applying remote sensing and GIS to water resources projects for over twenty years. His most recent work involves remote sensing of evapotranspiration. He has a Bachelor’s degree in geography from Carroll College in Wisconsin and a Master’s degree in physical geography from Indiana State University.

Innovations in Government Seminar Series
This event is part of the Innovations in Government Seminar Series, which explores various aspects and approaches to the study and replication of government innovation. This year-long series seeks to educate and inform the next generation of government innovators.

This event is co-sponsored by the Ash Center and the Program on Conservation Innovation at the Harvard Forest, Harvard University.