Studying Water Evaporation: Discover Future Availability | In a Bottle

Studying water evaporation to discover its future availability

The innovative approach of a group of Californian scientists

LOS ANGELES – Calculating the speed of evaporation from water tanks to measure future availability. The idea was implemented by a team of researchers at the Desert Research Institute with the support of members of the California Department of Water Resources. At the moment, this experimental approach is focussed on Folsom Lake, near the city of Sacramento, where special technology typical of a standard weather station  is being used to study water shortage.


Temperature sensors, moisture sensors, anemometers and net radiometers. These are the devices comprising state-of-the-art technology on a buoy measuring water evaporation in the tank. Justin Huntington, a hydrologist at the Desert Research Institute, explains: “Evaporation of just 10% of the sample we are monitoring is worth millions of dollars in terms of water for domestic and national use”. Indeed, the added value of this approach stems from the capacity to link current shortages with future repercussions concerning availability. This is something which will provide understanding in advance of how to find sustainable solutions.

The importance of research

In Italy, an approach has been adopted by Levissima for something similar, in collaboration with a team of researchers from the University of Milan. They have initiated a new research phase in Alta Valtellina, studying glacial melting. Also in this case, thanks to state-of-the-art technology, the aim is to calculate the speed at which the glacier melts and, as a result, how the water availability of the glaciers is being reduced – these being real-life conservation tanks.