Water resources
6:28 am
Tue January 3, 2012

Mo. funding for streamflow gauges likely to remain consistent

Hundreds of streamflow gauges that are used to monitor rising water levels across the nation are in danger of being shut down because of budget cutbacks, but Missouri's gauge stations may avoid that fate.

Streamflow gauges monitor rising water levels connected with flooding, and they have other uses such as monitoring the availability of water as a resource.

Mike Slifer, director of the USGS Missouri Water Science Center, says Missouri has about 240 streamflow gauge stations that are funded through a patchwork of local, state and federal partnerships. And he says while those partnerships and their funding sources can sometimes be precarious, Missouri's funding for the gauges has remained consistent.

"In the past, there has been potential issues as state funding has risen and fallen," said Slifer. "The state of Missouri has pretty much recognized the importance of information on water resources."

Mike Norris, chief of the National Streamflow Information Program, which coordinates a network of thousands of gauging stations nationally, says states like Missouri that have had recent flooding sometimes are more reluctant to cut funding to streamflow gauging.