delware environmental institute

Want to understand drought? Follow the water!

Want to understand drought? Follow the water!

Lifecycle of water in the Susquehanna River Basin may reveal answers for drought prone areas

Water is a precious resource many take for granted until there is too little or too much. Scientists and engineers have positioned instruments at the Susquehanna Shale Hills Observatory at Pennsylvania State University to learn much more about the water cycle there. It is one of six Critical Zone Observatories in the United States.

"What we're trying to do is build experimental test beds across the United States and we're also working with several European Critical Zone Observatory test beds, to understand the cycle of water in detail," says Chris Duffy, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Penn State.

With support from the National Science Foundation (NSF), Duffy and his team are documenting the flow of water at the forested Shale Hills watershed from rain and snow through plants, soil and rock--from "bedrock to boundary layer."