The California centric journalistic website and blog by The Center for Investigative Reporting seeks “to engage and empower the public through investigative journalism and groundbreaking storytelling.” The work of journalist Michael Corey on identifying the “wet princes” of Bel-Air is a story of leveraging public resources with ingenuity, determination and a platform to shed new light on who’s using the most water in California. In Michael’s quest to identify the “largest, greenest, wettest parcels” he backed into the largest water users by determining how large the irrigated area was and correlating how much water various types of vegetation would require. Michael called on an interdisciplinary team to assist him in the quest including data experts and the University of California Center for Landscape and Urban Horticulture.
Michael says anyone that wants to duplicate their results simply needs to locate: “A parcel map vector data source; A list of who owns each parcel; Multispectral images that include a near-infrared band, such as NAIP, Landsat or Sentinel images; Landsat imagery for tasseled cap calculations (until someone develops a tasseled cap equation for Sentinel-2); GIS software, e.g., Quantum GIS, ArcGIS or ENVI; High-resolution RGB imagery for tracing sections of vegetation to put through the SLIDE rules (I used the unofficial Google Satellite layer in QGIS, but if I were starting over, I probably would use Earth Engine.); and finally A local value for evapotranspiration.”
The odyssey is well documented on the Reveal website. Now this is a story all about how we found the Wet Princes of Bel Air is just one of the articles on Reveal about water use in the landscape during California’s extended drought.
NewTerrain November 1, 2016.