New $6M water research grant could protect lives, property of Alabamians

[Photo Credit: AP Photo | Gerry Broome]

Alabamians lives and property may soon be better protected thanks to a new federal grant to help improve the nation’s water prediction capabilities and forecasts.

Alabama U.S. Senator Richard Shelby on Tuesday announced that the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has granted $6 million for water prediction research efforts at the University of Alabama (UA) in partnership with the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).

“This is excellent news for the University of Alabama, our state, and the nation,” said Shelby. “The research made possible by this $6 million grant will drive scientific advances to help improve the nation’s water prediction capabilities and forecasts. I am proud to have helped secure this funding that will better protect the lives and property of all Americans.”

This funding will support the efforts of UA, UCAR, and NOAA researchers to develop 21st century radar technologies aimed at improving measurements of snow and soil moisture. These improved observations will have the opportunity to advance the predictive and prognostic ability of future versions of the National Water Model, the nation’s first-ever continental-scale hydrologic prediction system operated at the National Water Center in Tuscaloosa, Ala. Scientists at the National Water Center will utilize the data produced by the radars to strengthen research and grow the nation’s water prediction capabilities. 

“This award further demonstrates the University’s commitment to cultivating a research culture that will have a far-reaching impact,” said Dr. Stuart Bell, University of Alabama President.  “We are very pleased to see our research efforts making a significant difference for water resources and for the nation at large.”

The university will receive $5 million of the funding while UCAR will receive $1 million to support administration and management of the grant.