We studied the factors that affect the water quality and quantity issues existing within Floyd County. We performed relevant literature review and had focused discussions with both the stakeholders and relevant experts on the area’s geology and water issues, which informed our data scraping directives. We found that nearly all the residents in the county rely on well and natural spring systems for their water supply, so these systems were a major focus of our findings. Due to the lack of data on the area’s groundwater resources, we developed various models to indirectly estimate the county’s water resources. We used remote sensing data from both the GRACE satellites and the Landsat 8 satellites to develop estimates for the water quantity trends in the area. The GRACE satellite data was used to estimate temporal trends of the water table anomalies for the county. The Landsat 8 satellite imagery was used to develop a neural network model which used Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) alongside precipitation, elevation and well water depth values from counties across Virginia to estimate the water table depth for the county. Alongside looking at water quantity, we also studied the water quality issues in the county and probed into factors that might lead to potential contamination of the county’s water resources. We identified the geology of the area alongside potential surface contamination sources and household plumbing issues to be the major sources of contamination in the county. We further identified strategies that the county could utilize for sustainable and efficient use of their water resources for future industrial and residential development.  

Teaser Video

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Project Website



Esha Dwibedi 

Virginia Tech, Department of Economics 





Julie Rebstock  

Virginia Tech, Department of CMDA and Economics




Ryan Jacobs 

Virginia Tech, Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics 




John Wright 

Virginia State University, College of Engineering and Technology 





Dr. Sarah M. Witiak 

Assistant Professor, College of Natural and Health Sciences, Virginia State University 

Dr. Brianna Posadas 

Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Agricultural, Leadership, and Community Education, Virginia Tech


Dawn Barnes 

Virginia Cooperative Extension, Floyd County