Assessing the Vulnerability of Public Water Systems to Droughts with an Integrated Remote Sensing and Social Sensing Approach

Nationwide, small- to medium-sized reservoirs provide public water supplies (PWS) for many local municipalities, whose water security is susceptible to increased climate variability like droughts. However, the impacts of drought on these PWS reservoirs were rarely monitored timely, and the variability in geographical conditions and social adaptation capacities poses challenges to robust monitoring, assessing and reporting drought impacts. Traditional remote sensing methods have been found incapable of effectively representing geographically varied social vulnerability and resilience.Research has suggested that social vulnerability and resilience play an amplifying or buffering role in mediating drought impacts. It is especially a challenging task to understand the thresholds of monitored drought conditions that may trigger differential levels of social impacts and responses. Innovative approaches mediating environmental monitoring and social vulnerability/adaptation are critically needed. The project proposes to use an innovative way of integrating remote sensing, hydrological modeling, and social sensing to better understand the thresholds and triggers to specificimpacts with higher both spatial and temporal details. We will select PWS reservoirs from the Illinois Reservoir Observation Network. This project is expected to bridge the gap between physical droughts and social responses from our communities.

  • PI: Ruopu Li
  • PI Institution: Southern Illinois University
  • September 1, 2023 – August 31, 2024