KWQC-TV: “Stream Gauges” to Make Flood Data Easily Accessible in Davenport

Aug. 17 crews installed a new tool at two Davenport creeks. The device is called a “stream gauge.” It’s an aluminum box that monitors water depth.

City officials said it will help them monitor streams during heavy rainfall.

“Every 15 minutes, this sensor transmits data on where the water level is,” said Dan Ceynar, Iowa Flood Center engineer.

That information is kept by the Iowa Flood Center. They use it for research, but the data is available for the public.

“You can look at where the rain is falling in real time,” Ceynar said.

It’s all on the center’s website, http://ifis.iowafloodcenter.org/ifis/main/ . And the city is excited to have real-time information accessible to residents.

“You can go to the website pull up that gauge and it will show you in real time yes, the creek has gone up a foot in the last hour,” said Resources Manager for the City of Davenport Brian Stineman.”

Stineman said this will make it easier for the city to be proactive, instead of reactive.

“We’ll be able to set a warning elevation, so we’ll know if the creeks hitting a certain point in rising to get somebody out there to close the road,” Stineman said. “Right now what we do is more of react to a call.”

And according to Ceynar that is why the project was created.

“That was the mission was to provide publicly available information for anybody to access,” Ceynar said.

For now Davenport has two sensors.

One is at the South Concord Street and John Fell Drive location of Black Hawk creek. The other is at the Eastern Avenue and East 29th Street location of Duck Creek.

But more could soon follow.

“I’d like to build a bigger database of the creeks we don’t have a lot of information on,” Stineman said.

Both the City of Davenport and Iowa Flood Center are going to keep an eye on the data coming in. They said they hope to establish curves that can flag a warning by the time spring comes around.

The stream gauges in Davenport are already sending out information.

To watch the video, go to http://kwqc.com/2015/09/17/stream-gauges-to-make-flood-data-easily-accessible-in-davenport/.