An Introduction to the USGS Water Alert Service

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Detailed Description

An introduction to the USGS Water Alert Notification System


Date Taken:

Length: 00:06:55

Location Taken: Reston, VA, US


Slide 1
Hi, my name is Mike Nolan.

Gary Fisher and I have worked together to
prepare the following 6.5 minute presentation

that is designed to introduce you to Water
Alert, which we feel is an important service

provided by the USGS.

Slide 1
Hi, my name is Mike Nolan. Gary Fisher and

I have worked together to prepare the following
6.5 minute presentation that is designed to

introduce you to Water Alert, which we feel
is an important service provided by the U.

S. Geological Survey. Gary and I both work
as Emeritus Hydrologists with the U. S. Geological

Survey’s Office of Surface Water.

Frame 2
To understand the capabilities of Water Alert

you must first recognize that the U. S Geological
Survey, or USGS for short operates, approximately

9600 streamgages around the country and that
data from most of these gages are transmitted

by satellite once every one to four hours
. Data are transmitted even more frequently

during critical events. This screen shows
the map interface and the web address that

can be used to access streamflow data collected
at these gages.

Frame 3
The WaterAlert service extends the capability

of real-time USGS streamgages by sending text
or email messages when certain parameters,

as measured at a streamgage, exceed a threshold
that you can define. This means that you do

not have to be monitoring the internet to
know when steamflow has exceeded conditions

that are important to you. You will be alert
to the to that fact via a text or e-mail message.

Frame 4
The map interface and web address for Water

Alert are shown here. While the WaterAlert
system is managed by the USGS it was developed

with the support of numerous federal, state,
and local agencies.

Frame 5
Okay, so let’s see what it takes to get

started using Water Alert. So if we type in
the web address:

and click on the link that comes up, you will
be presented with the map interface for Water

Alert showing streamgages in your location.
I happen to be located in the San Francisco

Bay area and you can see that streamgages
near me have come up on this map interface.

So, we can pan a zoom around on this map looking
for the streamgage of interest. We can zoon

in and we can zoom out and, of course, we
can pan around. You can also you one of the

five search criteria over here on the left
to zero in on the gauge of interest. In this

case I’m going to type in a street address
and I’m going to type in “450 Serra Mall,

Stanford, CA, which is the street address
for Stanford University and you will see that

the map puts Stanford University in the center
of the interface. In this case there are two

streamgages that come up and the on I’m
interested in is this one right here, which

is San Francisquito Creek at Stanford University.
This site information also shows the most

recent streamflow and the most recent stage.
If we want to go to some place totally different

we can go across the Country and type in a
place name and I’m going to type in Point

of Rocks, MD and we will be taken to Point
of Rocks, MD. In particular the Potomac River

and you can see there is one streamgage shown
here and if I click on it you will see that

it is the Potomac River at Point of Rocks,
MD. The most recent streamflow is 3080 cubic

feet per second and the most recent stage
is 1.51 feet.

So let’s see what it will take to subscribe
to Water Alert for this particular streamgage.

I’m going to click on the button to subscribe
and a subscription form will come up showing

that it is, indeed, the correct streamgage
and will also ask me for the type of notification

that I’d like. Either a mobile phone, which
will be a text message, or an e-mail address.

And I’m going to type in an e-mail address.
And then how frequently we would like that

notification. I’m going to type in “hourly”.
And then what I would like to be notified

about. It could either be discharge, in cubic
feet per second, or stage, in feet. This is

a period of low flow and I’m going to say
that I would like to be notified with the

stage drops below 1.50 feet. And I’m going
to acknowledge that I’ve read the disclaimer.

And then I’m going to submit this request
to start receiving these Alert notifications.

You will see then, that his confirmation message
comes up saying that I’ve asked to be notified

when the stage of the Potomac River at Point
of Rocks, MD drops below 1.50 feet. When I

close this, it is going to send an e-mail
to me asking if I did, indeed, request this

notification. You must acknowledge that e-mail
before you start receiving these alerts.

I am basically done at this point. I’ll
close this window and be returned to the map

Frame 6

So this concludes what we wanted to show you
about Water Alert. I hope we’ve provided

enough information for you to comfortably
start this service. We suggest you explore

the Water Alert web site to gain a more detailed
understanding of how to use Water Alert. We’d

like to point out that, while we’ve focused
on stream discharge and stage in this presentation,

you can also use Water Alert to receive notices
about water quality and groundwater conditions

in your area. Those of us at the USGS appreciate
your interest in our Water Alert Service.