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NOAA Stands Up New National Water Center

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) officially opened its National Water Center on Tuesday at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa.  Dedicated to improving the nation’s ability to manage threats to its water resources and mitigate the impact of such threats, this is the first such facility in the U.S.  It houses a water resources forecasting operations center with situation rooms; an applied water resources research and development center; a geo-intelligence laboratory; a systems proving ground; and an airborne snow and soil moisture observation analysis facility to monitor, measure, plan and manage water situations.
As part of the opening ceremony, Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker said, “This center will enable better data sharing.  It’s going to be a leading predictor for water… and will have the capability of predicting extreme water events up to 30 days in advance, which will allow communities to prepare and will help manage the economic impact.”  Cutting edge technologies will allow more accurate forecasting extreme runoff, flooding, droughts and other types of water problems.
At the building’s core is the operations center, which will provide users from multiple agencies with day-to-day national situational awareness and water predictions to create a common picture of water resources.  As one of the Center’s first efforts, Federal and academic partners are planning to  build a new high resolution, near real-time hydrologic simulation and forecasting model, with the goal of establishing research collaborations that will sustain innovation into the future.
NOAA has created a video that highlights the National Water Center, the value it brings to the water community, and speaks to the three principal water challenges – a growing population, a changing climate, and an aging infrastructure – facing the US today.  Click HERE to view the video.