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S64. Remote sensing of groundwater in developing nations

We are seeking a Mendenhall Fellow to advance our ability to use satellite-based remotely sensed data to map potential groundwater availability and groundwater recharge zones in developing nations.

Description of Research Opportunity 

As the world’s largest water data provider, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) continually innovates to improve the delivery of accurate and timely water data and science critical to the understanding of our world’s water. Many water resources issues, questions, and hazards are inherently global in scale and require USGS scientific leadership and engagement outside U.S. borders. USGS domestic approaches on these topics are better informed by coordinating with foreign partners and learning from shared global experiences. 


The USGS Office of International Programs (OIP) is assisting partner nations in assessing and mapping groundwater resources, particularly in drought-stressed arid regions. The goal is to map at high resolution the extent of potential groundwater resources to increase the likelihood of drilling successful boreholes. These maps, in combination with observed hydrologic, geophysical, geological, and socio-economic data, are used by USGS scientists to develop multi-faceted sustainable use scenarios to optimize the use of groundwater resources.


OIP would like to expand USGS capabilities in innovative remote sensing and data processing techniques to further advance the USGS mission in the international area. In particular, OIP seeks a Mendenhall Postdoctoral Fellow to advance our ability to estimate and map potential groundwater availability and groundwater recharge areas in developing nations using satellite-based remotely sensed data. Maps of potential groundwater availability and recharge zones will have 30-meter spatial resolution or better in a wide range of climatic settings, including arid, semiarid, wet, and semi rainforest areas.


After the Fellow develops an approach, OIP requires that the Fellow develop technology-transfer materials suitable for instructing scientists and managers of partner nations on the detailed approach that leads to a final derived product, which will require occasional international travel to partner nations.


The Fellow will interact with Senior Science Advisors and Project Managers in OIP, remotely sensed data providers such as National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and scientists and managers of partner nations where work is conducted. The Fellow will also coordinate and partner with USGS scientists conducting economic optimization of groundwater resources delineated in project areas.


Interested applicants are strongly encouraged to contact the Research Advisors early in the application process to discuss project ideas.


Proposed Duty Station(s)



Areas of PhD

Hydrology, Earth science, land process remote sensing, environmental science, natural resources, or related fields (candidates holding a Ph.D. in other disciplines, but with extensive knowledge and skills relevant to the Research Opportunity may be considered).



Applicants must meet one of the following qualifications: Research Physical Scientist, Research Hydrologist, Research Cartographer, Research Geographer, Research Geologist


(This type of research is performed by those who have backgrounds for the occupations stated above.  However, other titles may be applicable depending on the applicant's background, education, and research proposal. The final classification of the position will be made by the Human Resources specialist.)