Capital Clicks

Iowa Flood Center receives $1 million to expand monitoring for droughts, floods

By: - September 5, 2023 3:21 pm

The Iowa Flood Center is expanding its network of hydrostations, like the one deployed in Guthrie County, after receiving $1 million in Congressional funding. (Photo via the University of Iowa)

The University of Iowa’s Iowa Flood Center will use $1 million awarded through Congress’s Community Project Funding to expand its ability to monitor flooding and droughts and manage watersheds.

Announced Tuesday in a news release, the funding will go toward the addition of 30 new hydrostations to its network, which includes counties in eastern and western Iowa, bringing the total number of stations to 50. The stations draw data, which is made available online, by measuring rainfall, soil moisture and temperature conditions, and groundwater levels in shallow wells.


Hydrostations, alongside additional stream sensors, will be placed along the Lower Cedar River and Maquoketa River watersheds to monitor conditions in real time. The flood center will use the data to develop hydrologic systems and visualizations for the watersheds to aid in water resource management and conservation programs. Additionally, data from the network will aid in preliminary discussions about creating an Iowa Drought Information System.

The flood center hopes to eventually have a network spanning all 99 counties, according to the news release.

“This funding will help ensure Iowa remains a national leader in flood prediction,” said Larry Weber, professor of civil and environmental engineering and co-founder of the Iowa Flood Center, in the release. “We’re grateful for our partnerships at the local, state, and federal levels that supported this project and made it possible.”

Information gathered through the network will be used by the NOAA Cooperative Institute for Research to Operations in Hydrology, of which the University of Iowa and flood center are partners, for water-related research, monitoring, mapping and more.

The flood center plans to deploy the eastern Iowa hydrostation network starting in spring 2024, and will work on securing funding to expand the network to the western side of the state.

U.S. Reps. Ashley Hinson and Mariannette Miller-Meeks led efforts to bring the funding to the flood center, according to the release. The Iowa Flood Center, founded in 2008 after record-breaking flooding ravaged eastern Iowa, is the only academic research center focused solely on flooding in the U.S.

“The Iowa Flood Center is at the forefront of flood mitigation and prevention initiatives in Iowa. This funding will bolster the Flood Center’s research and modernization efforts and strengthen their ability to provide real-time information to support local emergency operations in flood disaster situations,” Hinson said in the release.


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Brooklyn Draisey
Brooklyn Draisey

Brooklyn Draisey is a Report for America corps member covering higher education. She previously worked for the Quad-City Times and The Gazette covering topics ranging from business to culture.