Western States Water Newsletter

 Addressing Water Needs and Strategies for a Sustainable Future




On March 25, a coalition of 57 stakeholders – led by the Interstate Council on Water Policy (ICWP) and joined by the WSWC – submitted letters to the Senate and House Appropriations Subcommittees on Interior, Environment and Related Agencies, in support of the USGS streamgage network.  “These vital networks, managed within the USGS Groundwater and Streamflow Information Program, provide critical and life-saving information and serve the national interest with continuous streamflow information at over 8,400 locations. Additions to these networks are needed to adequately manage the Nation’s critical water supplies and infrastructure.”  The letter requests $27.5M for FY21 funding for the Federal Priorities Streamgages (FPS), noting that full implementation is estimated at $125M. Funding has been flat for the past five years, and only 25% of FPS are fully funded by the federal government. “The USGS is unable to complete development of the Network, as Congress directed in 2009, without additional funding.” The coalition also asks for $33M for the Cooperative Matching Funds program, an increase over the FY20 level of $29.6M. Despite a federal cost share decrease from 50% to 30%, the USGS is able to work with over a thousand partners nationwide to support 5,345 streamgages. Increasing funding would enable the network to grow.  Finally, the letter requests $20M for the USGS Next Generation Water Observation System (NGWOS) and Data Delivery Modernization, to enable selection of a third pilot basin (of the ten authorized) for focused monitoring, data collection and calibration of different models, including NOAA’s National Water Model. This will improve “the ability to estimate water supply in the nation’s many ungaged areas.”  See: https://icwp.org/streamgage-support/2020-senate-streamgage-letter-fy21/.