Washington, DC - Today, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) announced that following his effort the Administration has included increased funding for life-saving flood forecasting systems in its newly released Fiscal Year 2015 (FY15) budget. The budget plans for a $1.3 million increase in funding over the previous fiscal year to $35 million. Senator Casey recently spoke with emergency responders and residents along the Susquehanna River Basin to push for increased investment.
“Increasing funding for these life-saving stream gauges will help residents along the Susquehanna River Basin prepare for extreme weather. During a storm even a few minutes can have a big impact. That advance warning can give Pennsylvanians extra time to leave their home or time to protect sections of their property that could be in danger,” Senator Casey said. “Investing in flood forecasting ultimately saves lives and money for residents. Flooding along the Susquehanna River Basin comes at an annual cost of $150 million. Investing in stream gauges now can help reduce those costs.”
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 earlier letter can be seen below:
The Honorable Sylvia Mathews Burwell
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.
Robert P. Casey Jr.
United States Senator