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

Hurricane Maria produced large scale flooding and wind damage along it’s path through Puerto Rico.  As a result, US Geological Survey (USGS) streamflow and rain gages in Puerto Rico were heavily impacted.

Following Hurricane Maria, the USGS provided support for the ongoing emergency at Lago Guajataca by installing a real-time rain gage above the damaged reservoir, repairing the reservoir water level gage, and installing a real-time video feed for US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to visually monitor the damaged spillway.

Hurricane Maria disabled NOAA’s radar system in Puerto Rico, impairing their flood forecasting ability. The USGS activated a 33-rain gage network to provide NOAA with information for river flood forecasting to protect Puerto Rico lives and economic resources. The activated rain-gage network was used by Puerto Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA), Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority (PRASA), Puerto Rico Electric Power Authority (PREPA) for the following hurricane seasons to understand and forecast reservoir levels for flood control. 

Following Hurricane Maria, the USGS was in direct contact with PRASA, PREPA, Puerto Rico Department of Environmental and Natural Recourses (PRDNER), Puerto Rico Planning Board (PRPB), municipality emergency managers throughout the island, and the USACE to identify and prioritize stream gage replacement/repair to protect Puerto Rico citizens and resources. The USGS sent hydrologic technicians from across the United States to Puerto Rico to assist the local staff with repairs as local staff were dealing with significant issues of their own related to the storm damage and lack of power and water which extended well beyond the time of the actual storm. The focused USGS effort to complete gage repairs was critical in supporting PRASA/PREPA water and electricity distribution recovery since the hurricane impaired their infrastructure at numerous locations throughout Puerto Rico. 



Guajataca Dam Hurricane Maria
Guajataca Dam after Hurricane Maria.