Lowering the Cost of Continuous Streamflow Monitoring

Lowering the Cost of Continuous Streamflow Monitoring Deadline: 2019-04-08
Award: $75,000
Open to: US citizen or permanent resident*

Water resources planning, management, and research rely extensively on accurate and reliable streamflow data. Long-term streamflow records, for example, are critical to the design of water supply and flood control projects, as well as infrastructure in and adjacent to stream channels. Similarly, water managers rely on real-time streamflow data to support water supply and flood control operations, including forecast and early warning systems for droughts and floods. Long-term and real-time streamflow data also support a broad range of water resources and environmental research.

Despite the importance of streamflow data, the existing network of continuous streamflow monitoring stations (also referred to as stream gages) in the United States has generally declined over the past several decades. The number of stream gages operated by the US Geological Survey peaked in the late 1960s and declined nearly 20% by the late 1990s. The primary driver of this decline is the cost of installing, operating, and maintaining stream gages. Between 2000 and 2009, additional funding was made available to reactivate approximately half of the deactivated gages; however, the cost of installing, operating, and maintaining stream gages remains a significant challenge to Federal, Tribal, State, and local water agencies.

* Details may apply. See contest website to confirm eligibility.

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