KECK Hydrowatch Center
Earth is unique among the planets in its abundance of all three phases of water – liquid, solid, and gas. Those phases regulate our planet's climate, while fresh water keeps our planet teeming with life. Earth's water cycle is incredibly complex: water evaporating from the ocean is transported great distances in the atmosphere, undergoes phase changes, and is recycled by vegetation and soils before it drains to streams and eventually returns to the ocean as runoff. While science has begun to unravel some of the mysteries of the earth's water cycle, projections of future climate change and water supplies for human welfare remain highly uncertain. This is because the paucity of long-term, wide-spread observations about our planet's hydrology makes it difficult to understand the water cycle well enough to make accurate predictions about it. Using today's hydrologic measurement tools is comparable to listening to a Beethoven symphony but hearing only a single note every minute.
The Hydrowatch Center aims to collaboratively apply UC Berkeley’s expertise in the College of Letters and Science, College of Chemistry, College of Engineering, and College of Natural Resources to this major gap in our understanding of the environment. The research is targeted to dramatically expand the observations of all aspects of the water cycle by developing cost-effective, rapid-response, and accurate sensors and techniques to monitor water quality, quantity, and pathways.
The W. M. Keck Hydrowatch Center at UC Berkeley is a team of engineers, geologists, biologists and chemists working together to understand the complete life cycle of water thanks to a grant from the W. M. Keck Foundation.