Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand today pushed the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to restore funding for the Owego Creek stream gauge that provides a key warning system to local families and businesses that endure yearly threats to dangerous flooding.
“After back-to-back years of storms that swept away roads, bridges, businesses and entire communities, we know stream gauges are a key tool to staying ahead of the storm, and keeping our families safe,” Senator Gillibrand said. “When we let this funding fall to the wayside, we leave Owego families and businesses vulnerable to more dangerous flooding. We need this federal investment to keep the necessary precautions in place that monitor and protect us from disaster.”
Located along the Susquehanna River, Owego deals with annual threats of potentially devastating flooding. Hurricane Lee and Tropical Storm Lee in 2011 produced flooding that left 90 percent of Owego under water.
Local officials built the Owego Creek stream gauge one mile north of the village to help guard residents from flooding. The modest cost of $9,800 to fund the stream gauge is more cost-effective than its removal, and strengthens the village’s resiliency to extreme weather – helping to reduce costly clean-up efforts in the aftermath of storms and floods.
USGS stream-flow information, currently collected at more than 8,000 stream gauges, provides the scientific basis for protecting, managing, and sustaining freshwater that is safe and available for drinking and for other competing water demands, including for irrigation, energy, industry, recreation, and ecosystem health. The information is available in real-time, which is critical to protect and minimize loss of life and property from water hazards, including floods, droughts, and debris flows.