MERCED, Calif. (AP) -- The University of California, Merced, has been awarded a $2 million federal grant to track the Sierra snowpack.

The Fresno Bee ( ) says a web of wireless sensors will be installed in the 2,000-square-mile American River Basin in the Sierra northeast of Sacramento.

The National Science Foundation money supports a four-year project designed to give water managers precise information to predict snowmelt, a main source of water for millions of residents and the $35 billion farming industry.

Snow measurement currently relies on samples from just a few areas of the mountain range.

The sensor network will account for the slope of the mountain, water consumed by plants and evaporation.


Information from: The Fresno Bee,

Copyright 2011 The AP.

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