TUCSON - A University of Arizona researcher is leading a National Science Foundation project that is integrating A.I. to simulate the nation's groundwater supply for the purpose of forecasting droughts and floods.
Dr. Laura Condon has been studying the behavior of groundwater and droughts for years and now she is teaming up with researchers at Princeton and others to create one of the first A.I.'s to simulate the movement and location of groundwater over a long period of time.
Dr. Condon said, "What's different about this project is we're really partnering with software developers and actual water managers machine learning to what we're doing build on what we've already been doing with physical hydrology."
The first phase of this project will take nine months and they will focus on the western half of the country first.
"We're working with them to see if we can come up with better forecasts for floods and droughts in the upper Colorado River Basin and that's ultimately going to help us manage resources better and hopefully provide more sustainable water supply in the long term," Dr. Condon said.
This isn't just for the benefit of farmers or water supply companies, but for every facet of our lives that rely on some sort of water supply.
In 2020, Southern Arizona is seeing a long-standing severe drought, News 4 Tucson asked Dr. Condon how this will impact her research.
"What we're interested in doing is doing really long-term simulations for hundreds of years where we can do all sorts of starting points and we can start to understand what's the risk if if this happened again what's the risk if we had droughts that are back to back."
The whole project will take nearly 3 years and when it is complete, we will have a whole new way to forecast floods and droughts around the county.