The objective of this investigation is to design a general rate sensing-aided information system to provide the estimates of two important inputs to water yield forecast models. These input parameters are snow areal extent, snow water content, and cost-effectiveness analysis applied to snow water content-estimation. The techniques under development in this investigation are being tested on the water source basin for the California Water Project. This area is known as the Feather River Watershed. With the cooperation of the California Department of Water Resources and the University of California at Davis.
The general approach involves a stepwise sequence of identification of the required information, sample design, measurement/estimation, and evaluation of results. All the relevant and available information types needed in the estimation process are being defined. These include Landsat, and aircraft imagery supported with ground data where applicable.
In case of snow areal extent, the procedure developed has been applied to three dates in 1973 with satisfactory and cost-effective results. The results are naps of snow areal extent along with their variance, population ratio estimator, confidence intervals, and allowable error for each date.
In case of snow water content, the Landsat-aided system has yielded precise and cost-effective estimates of input parameters to hydrologic models over the watershed(s) of interest with sufficient accuracy. This investigation suggests that remote sensing has shown a great potential for predicting water yield and aiding water resources managers.
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