NASA has created the first, most accurate maps of the entire snowpack of two major watersheds in Colorado and California, according to an agency news release.

The maps were created through a new NASA airborne mission called Airborne Snow Observatory.

The data from this mission will be used to better estimate how much water will be produced from the melting basins, improving water management for those around the world who depend on that melt for supply, according to the release issued Thursday.

"The Airborne Snow Observatory is on the cutting edge of snow remote-sensing science," Jared Entin, a program manager in the Earth Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington said in the release. "Decision makers like power companies and water managers now are receiving these data, which may have immediate economic benefits."

For more information about the Airborne Snow Observatory, visit aso.jpl.nasa.gov.

Ryan Parker: 303-954-2409, rparker@denverpost.com or twitter.com/ryanparkerdp