Media Advisory: Engineers to toss 100 sensors downriver in Delta field test

ATTENTION: Reporters covering water, environment and technology

WHAT: A press briefing for the inaugural launch of a fleet of 100 floating sensors into the Sacramento River and Georgiana Slough. Such devices could be rapidly deployed as low-cost, efficient tools used in response to emergencies such as levee breaches or oil spills.

The Floating Sensor Network project, developed by engineers at the University of California, Berkeley, sets out to provide real-time, high-resolution data that water managers can use to track water movement, salinity, pollution and more. The fleet includes robotic sensors that can swim around obstacles to target areas of interest and transmit live data to researchers using GPS receivers and mobile phone technology.

Reporters can board boats to view researchers tossing sensor-equipped floats into the river before retrieving them downstream. The floats will be monitored on computer screens.

WHEN: 10:30 a.m. – 2 p.m., Wednesday, May 9. The press briefing to introduce the project begins at 10:30 a.m., and the field experiment starts at 11 a.m.

WHERE: Walnut Grove, Calif. The press briefing will be held at an outdoor plaza at the corner of Market and C streets. The field experiment will take place at the public boat dock across the street from Mel’s Mocha & Ice Cream (14131 River Rd.). Map and directions are online.

WHO: Alexandre Bayen, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering, principal investigator of the project
Andrew Tinka, Ph.D. candidate in electrical engineering and computer sciences and lead graduate student on the project

DETAILS: “Monitoring the state’s water supply is critical for government agencies and water researchers, which now rely upon costly fixed water sensor stations that don’t always generate sufficient data for modeling and prediction,” said Bayen. “The work we are doing will ultimately guide future hydrological studies and information collection systems, and offer substantial benefits to agencies responsible for managing the state’s limited water supply.”

The project is supported by the Center for Information Technology in the Interest of Society and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.