Casey, Emergency Response Coordinators Push for Additional Funds for Life-Saving River Gauges that Help Forecast Flooding

Administration is Preparing Budget for Coming Year, Sufficient Funding for Flood Forecasting Systems Will Help Region Battle Storms / Study: $1 Invested in Stream and River Gauges Saves $20 In Reduced Flood Damages / Average Annual Flood Damage in Susquehanna River Basin is $150M

Casey, Emergency Response Coordinators Push for Additional Funds for Life-Saving River Gauges that Help Forecast Flooding

Wilkes-Barre, PA - As snow through the region begins to thaw from weeks of extreme weather, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) called for additional funding for life-saving river gauges that help communities forecast flooding during a press conference. Senator Casey released a letter to the Administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is preparing the soon to be released fiscal year 2015 budget urging for additional funds. Joined by emergency response coordinators from the region, Casey discussed the need for additional funds along the Susquehanna River Basin which receives average annual flood damage around $150 million.

“The Susquehanna River Basin is one of the most flood prone basins in the nation,” said Senator Casey. “For every dollar invested by the federal government, the system returns $20 through reduced flood damages and reduced payouts through the federal flood insurance program. Keeping current gauges open and adding new ones will allow Pennsylvanians to receive early warnings, which in turn will help residents prepare their homes, allow for emergency management measures, and ultimately help save lives. This is a smart investment, and I’m urging the administration to support this crucial program.”

The Susquehanna Flood Forecasting and Warning System consists of a network of stream and rain gauges that generate data which allows the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings that help keep Pennsylvania residents safe. Unfortunately, due to funding issues many stream gauges that are vital to the overall system are in danger of being closed. 

Fully funding and implementing the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP) will create a sustainable network that will improve safety and help prevent future flood damage in the Susquehanna River Basin region, where average annual flood damages are nearly $150 million.

The full text of Senator Casey’s letter can be seen below:

The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell

Director

Office of Management and Budget

725 17th St NW                                

Washington, DC 20503                  

                                                                                               

Dear Director Burwell:

I write in support of increased funding for the U.S Geological Survey (USGS) National Streamflow Information Program (NSIP) in the President’s FY 2015 budget. This funding is crucial to supporting the Susquehanna Flood Forecast and Warning System. The Susquehanna Flood Forecast and Warning System was created to forecast river levels and represents the first line of defense from flooding for residents in the Susquehanna River Basin. The system is crucial to the safety of my constituents and has prevented injuries and loss of life during past flooding events.

The Susquehanna Flood Forecasting and Warning System consists of a network of stream and rain gauges that generate data which allows the National Weather Service to issue flood warnings and help keep Pennsylvania residents safe. Unfortunately, due to funding issues many stream gauges that are vital to the overall system are in danger of being closed.  Increased funding for this program will allow the USGS to protect gauges that are in jeopardy of being closed, ensure that currently funded gauges are kept in operation and add new gauges to improve the system. The Susquehanna River Basin is one of the most flood-prone watersheds in the Nation and residents that live in the basin are still continuing to recover from the historic flooding that occurred in 2011.

   

Providing sufficient funding for the NSIP represents a cost-effective investment for the federal government. I have been informed that for every dollar invested by the federal government, the system returns $20 through reduced flood damages and reduced payouts through the federal flood insurance program.  Additionally fully funding and implementing NSIP will create a sustainable network that will improve safety and help prevent future flood damage. In the Susquehanna River Basin region, where average annual flood damages are nearly $150 million, this is a fiscally responsible investment we must make.

I appreciate the President’s commitment to helping communities prepare for and protect against flooding. Thank you for your consideration of my request.

Sincerely,

Robert P. Casey Jr.

United States Senator

Press Contact

John Rizzo 202-228-6367