Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Recovery Activities

Gage Funding to Support Puerto Rico’s Electric Power Authority (PREPA) and Emergency Management Agency (PREMA)

Financial constraints on the government of Puerto Rico have limited the maintenance and operation of certain stream and rain gages in recent years. Supplemental appropriations are being used to support the PREMA and PREPA stream and rain gages through 2019.

Gage funding for the Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA)
USGS has an annual agreement with PREPA – Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority for the operation and maintenance of 52 stream and/or rain gages.  For the gages in this network, PREPA uses the discharge data from these canal-network stations to sell the water to the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA). The water is used mostly for irrigation purposes in the three Irrigation Canal Systems (Juana Diaz, Patillas, and Valle de Lajas) to allow PRASA to know how much water they have to distribute to the farms.  The annual agreement has not been signed for several years. Supplemental appropriations will be used to cover the costs of maintaining the gages through 2019 or until an new agreement is signed with PREPA.

Rain gage network for the Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA)
Supplemental appropriations were used to reactivate the USGS-Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) rainfall network. This network was forced to shutdown in 2016 due to financial deficits at PREMA.  However, in 2017 the FAA-owned Doppler radar was destroyed during Hurricane Maria, disabling a primary source of rainfall information and as a result of damage to the radar, PREMA and NOAA requested that USGS reactive as many of these rain gages as possible to assist them in forecasting flash floods due to rainfall events that were occurring in the days and weeks after hurricane landfall. USGS is operating 33 rain gages. Information from our gage network fills a critical gap in rainfall data that is not available from other federal agencies. Re-installation and operation of a USGS rain gage network will provide situational awareness information and support emergency response decision making for the Government of Puerto Rico.

USGS Caribbean Florida Water Science Center reactivated 33 rain gages after heavy winds from Hurricane Maria damaged the NOAA radar station on Puerto Rico. These gages had been part of network that was shut down in 2016 and were used to supplement the active network of 33 rain gages, many of which were also damaged or destroyed during Hurricane Maria. These rain gages are used by Puerto Rico Emergency Management Authority (PREMA) and NOAA to alert local residents and communities during periods of high intensity rainfall events which can lead to flash floods and loss of lives and property. Additionally USGS operates and maintains 52 gages at streams, reservoirs, and canals in cooperation with Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) . These data are used for flood warning, irrigation, and water supply.


Guajataca Dam Hurricane Maria

Guajataca Dam after Hurricane Maria.

(Public domain.)


Wesley W Stone

Associate Center Director for Data
Caribbean Florida Water Science Center, Southeast Region
Phone: 813-498-5057