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February 22, 2012   Email to Friend 

Mary Johnson
(334) 612-5671
February 22, 2012

Above is an artist's rendering of what the new National Water Center facility will look like when completed in 2013. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) broke ground on the $18 million facility Tuesday morning.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa will soon be home to the state-of-the-art National Water Center, a facility that will strengthen the nation’s water forecast capabilities. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) broke ground on the $18 million facility Tuesday morning.

Employees with the National Water Center will provide detailed flooding information to the National Weather Service and emergency planners to aide in mitigating efforts and determining evacuation routes. They will also monitor available water resources and address issues related to water scarcity.

Alabama Farmers Federation Director of Governmental and Agricultural Programs Jimmy Carlisle says data from the center will assist farmers in planning and management decisions.

“Water is the most important resource in providing for the world’s food supply,” Carlisle said. “The better data we have, the better farmers will be able to determine how the weather will affect their farms by drought or excessive water. The more that is known about water tables and reservoirs, the more irrigation can expand and improve responsibly.”

Increased water data would help farmers become even better stewards of the land, and the benefits wouldn’t stop there, he said.

“This kind of center will improve resource management in many sectors,” Carlisle said. “Municipalities, industries and agriculture would all benefit from the research and work provided by the National Water Center.”

NOAA Deputy Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said the center will be instrumental in improving forecasting and responses to water-related concerns.

“Farmers, municipal water managers and the Army Corps all make vital economic and public safety decisions based on timely and reliable water information,” Sullivan said. “This new center will strengthen our forecasting capabilities for floods, droughts and water quality and enhance inter-agency collaboration in support of decision makers.”

The center will house federal employees from agencies concerned with water, including NOAA and the United States Geological Survey (USGS). Construction should be finished by early summer 2013.

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