function(water, data){science} a team of UC Davis researchers wins CA Water Data Challenge Prize

Congratulations to UC Davis hydrology PhD Candidate and DSI affiliate Rich Pauloo and his teammates Amanda Fencl, Alvar Escriva-Bou, and Hervé Guillon for winning one of the top prizes at the CA Water Data Challenge. Their project, "Domestic Well Vulnerability to Drought in California’s Central Valley," used open data to predict which wells will go dry in future droughts, and applied machine learning to assess the climatic drivers of well failure. They hope that these findings positively influence local and state drought preparedness policies in domestic well dependent communities. "Given the extent of reported domestic well failure and the overexploitation of groundwater aquifers, communities adversely impacted by the recent drought may remain vulnerable without appropriate interventions," the team reported. For more details and presentations of their results, check out their project here, and a video explaining their project here.

Rich presented the team's results at the awards ceremony on October 18, 2018, and wrote a blog post reflecting on his experience participating in the data challenge. His take away lessons for working on data science challenges? Less is more when telling a story, listen, and respect your limits.

What's next for team function(water, data){science}? Based on the results of their project they have 3 papers in progress:

  • A review of the spatial model used to reproduce the 2012-2016 drought with future drought scenarios, and different groundwater management scenarios under the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.
  • A sociodemographic analysis of impacted and vulnerable communities with public policy recommendations.
  • The use of machine learning to investigate the impact of climate change on domestic well failure vulnerability.

Team winners and contact information:

  • Rich Pauloo, PhD Candidate in Hydrology at UC Davis
  • Amanda Fencl, PhD Candidate in Geography at UC Davis
  • Hervé Guillon, Research Scholar at UC Davis
  • Alvar Escriva-Bou, Research Fellow at Public Policy Institute of California