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Smart phones know when rivers rise

 RESTON, VA. — You can receive a text or email from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) when waters are rising in rivers and streams near you. The service, called WaterAlert, allows users to receive notifications about water levels at any of more than 7,000 USGS real-time streamgages around the country. There is no cost to users for this notification service.

"USGS WaterAlert provides current river information to people in harm’s way," said Bill Werkheiser, USGS associate director for water. "WaterAlert can be used by emergency managers and the general public alike as a first alert for a developing flood."

Users select a specific site and then select the preferred delivery method (e-mail or text), whether they want hourly or daily notifications about river data, and the specific water levels at which they want to be notified. Users can set the system to alert them when conditions are above a value, below a value, and between or outside a range of values.

WaterAlert also allows users to receive updates about groundwater levels, water temperatures, rainfall, and water quality at sites where USGS collects real-time water information.

The USGS operates an extensive, real-time water information network for water resources in each state. USGS Water Science Centers in each state can provide more detailed information on water conditions and USGS response to local events.

Sign up for WaterAlert at https://water.usgs.gov/wateralert.