Water is a complex problem on Earth: Some places get too little of it and some get far too much. That’s why NASA exploring the flow of freshwater across the world in hopes of improving access to it.
Frozen water is as important as liquid water, so NASA programs also monitor snow. NASA’s Airborne Snow Observatory program and California’s Department of Water Resources work together to put instruments on airplanes.
These devices track the amount of water stored as snow across western U.S. states’ watersheds. That monitoring helps scientists learn more about the timing of the spring melt.
Finally, NASA satellites that monitor the gravity field of Earth can show water hidden underground. A third of the world’s 37 largest aquifers are under stress from human agriculture and other “water demands.”
According to NASA, particularly in the Central Valley of California, the Indus Basin in northwestern India and Pakistan, and the Arabian Aquifer System in Saudi Arabia.
More accurate measurements of how much water is lurking underground can help resource managers allot that water more effectively.