Iowa Cities Push for Flood Gauges

December 18, 2008

Some Iowa cities want more river gauges following last summer’s flooding.

Officials say gauges are an important warning tool, but they may be too expensive.

Startup cost for each electronic gauge is $15,000 to $20,000. Annual operating costs are $10,000 to $15,000.

The gauges use sensors to measure water level and send hourly updates to a satellite. Agencies, such as the National Weather Service and Army Corps of Engineers, use the data for forecasts and flood preparation.

Most Iowa gauges are operated by the U.S. Geological Survey, which usually partners with a state agency or local government. It used to pay for half of operating costs, but that has slipped to 40 percent and officials say it’s hard to stretch the federal money available.

Information from: The Des Moines Register

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