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Kaweah River Watershed Hydrologic Observatory

The Kaweah River watershed is located on the western slopes of southern Sierre Nevada. We have two active projects in this watershed funded by the NRCS/USDA ARS and NSF to understand hydrologic processes from headwaters to the Central Valley aquifer system.


    Our goals are to:

  • Understand groundwater flow paths and residence times from headwaters to the Central Valley. 

  • Quantify mountain system recharge rates in response to climate variability and land cover change.

  • Assess the impacts of irrigation management practices on groundwater recharge.

  • Develop educational materials for high school teachers. 

  • Engage citizen scientistis in data collection.

   The Kaweah River watershed is part of the NRCS       Conservations Effects Assessment Project (CEAP). 

PI: Associate Professor Hoori Ajami 

Postdoctoral Fellows: Dr. Juan S. Acero Triana

                                  Dr. Sandra Armengol Vall

                                  Dr. Yusen Yuan

PhD Student: Eric Wineteer

Collaborators: Professor James Sickman

                      Dr. Dong Wang, USDA ARS

                      Dr. Ray Anderson, USDA ARS

                      Dr. Jason Kelly, USDA ARS 

                      Dr. Adam Schreiner-McGraw, USDA ARS


NSF CAREER:Characterizing Mountain System Aquifer Recharge in the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California

This project will integrate several research methods to investigate the most important drivers of groundwater recharge in the Kaweah River watershed. We combine groundwater and surface water chemistry and remotely sensed data with numerical models to understand and quantify groundwater response to climate variability, droughts, and changes in vegetation.


ParFlow.CLM (Maxwell and Condon, 2016)


The project aims to improve hydrologic sciences education and problem-solving skills for groups underrepresented in STEM disciplines by  developing online learning modules focused on hydrologic processes of mountain catchments and GIS. 


The project will train high school teachers from Southern California and design online educational resources for STEM teaching in high schools.

2021 High School Teachers Workshop @ UCR

Citizen Scientisits

We will involve the Kaweah River watershed citizens in data collection, the project will increase public awareness of complex factors that affect water resources in California.

Sampling Protocol
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