hope online water-table data can give people in Oklahoma advance warning of
drought conditions. Click the image for more information about
An Online Check on the Weather and the Water
Table By Luis
Pons May 19, 2005
Agricultural Research Service
Daniel and colleagues believe online, real-time, groundwater-depth data can
inform Oklahoma residents about drought conditions.
That's why Daniel and cooperators have launched a pilot study to see
if it's feasible to offer localized water-table readings through an existing
statewide meteorological network. Daniel, at the ARS
Research Laboratory in El Reno, Okla., is working with Noel Osborn of the
state's Water Resources Board, and
Chris Fiebrich of the Oklahoma Climatological
The network, called Oklahoma
Mesonet, comprises more than 110 automated weather stations. Run by OCS and
supported by the University of Oklahoma and
Oklahoma State University, it provides
data on air temperature, wind, rainfall, humidity, solar radiation and soil
The project, which is being funded by the
U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, is focused on
two groundwater observation wells that have been drilled at existing Mesonet
stations. One of the wells is located at the El Reno laboratory. The second
well is located in Acme in the Little Washita River Experimental Watershed,
where ARS scientists have conducted research since the 1960s.
The water level at the El Reno site is between 15 and 20 feet below
the surface, while water at the Acme site is found at 45 to 50 feet down.
Measurements at the wells, collected in conjunction with 20 other
meteorological variables, will help interpret water level changes and explain
the impact of drought on groundwater supply, according to Daniel.
The real-time data can be viewed on the Web. At Mesonet's data page
first download and install the WxScope plug-in software. Then return to the
data page and click the left-hand links for "Interactive Products" and "Graphs
Daniel, who is in the laboratory's
Plains Agroclimate and Natural Resources Research Unit, explained that the
data can assist farmers, ranchers, water managers and planners to meet the
state's agricultural water needs, mitigate potential losses associated with
drought and a variable climate, promote sustainable use of water resources and
enhance regional economic stability.
ARS is the U.S. Department of
Agriculture's chief scientific research agency.