NWS Relationships With Other Agencies

Relationships with other agencies/entities are very important to the National Weather Service in order to achieve the goals and mission of the NWS Hydrology Program. The following is a brief list and description of the key agencies/entities that the NWS works with in the Western United States. There are most likely other agencies that are important to your individual office. As the Hydrology Program Manager, it is important to be familiar with what agencies your office cooperates/interacts with. Also included in this section, is a brief explanation of SOME of the ways the NWS works with these agencies (each HSA will have a unique relationship with all/many of these agencies/entities).

United States Geological Survey (USGS) - Water Resources Division

The USGS is under the Department of the Interior. The Water Resources Division is 1 of the 4 USGS divisions. The Water Resources Division's main purpose is the collection and publication of streamflow data, and to provide various other hydrologic information to better use and manage the Nation's water resources. How the NWS works with the USGS:

NOTE An appendix to WSOM chapter E-06, will contain the working agreement between the NWS and the USGS.

Bureau of Reclamation (USBR or BuRec)

The USBR is a bureau under the Department of the Interior. The USBR operates in the Nation's 17 western states. The mission of the USBR is to manage, develop, and protect water and related resources in an environmentally and economically sound manner. They own and operate numerous dams for water resources projects such as agriculture, hydroelectric power, water quality, water supply, flood control, etc. How the NWS works with the USBR:

United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE or COE)

The COE is an agency under the Department of Defense. This agency provides engineering, management, and technical support to numerous federal, state and local government agencies. The COE plans, designs, builds, and in many cases operates and maintains projects that provide river and harbor navigation, flood control, water supply, hydroelectric power, environmental restoration, wildlife protection, and recreation. How the NWS works with the COE.

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)

The NRCS is an agency under the Department of Agriculture. The mission of the NRCS is to provide leadership in a partnership effort to help people conserve, improve, and sustain our natural resources and environment. How the NWS works with the NRCS:

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is an independent agency that reports directly to the President of the United States. FEMA's mission is to reduce loss of life and property and protect our nation's critical infrastructure from all types of hazards through a comprehensive risk-based, emergency management program of mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery. FEMA uses NWS forecasts and information for planning purposes (i.e. to position equipment and/or people in locations before a disaster occurs, or for emergency response purposes after a disaster has taken place).

National Park Service

The National Park Service is part of the Department of the Interior. The National Park System comprises 378 areas, which span more than 83 million acres. Flooding can occur within these areas, which is only aggravated by building on a flood plain, or dams in the area. The National Park Service has created flood plain and dam safety policies, which have been implemented according to Executive Orders. How the NWS works with the NPS

ALERT Users Group (AUG)

ALERT, which stands for Automatic Local Evaluation in Real Time, is a flash flood warning system that is heavily used in Western Region. In the early 1970's, the CNRFC pioneered the development of real-time data acquisition technology for rain and stream gages, which is now a vital flash flood warning system used throughout the United States.

ALERT stations are owned by local, state, and federal government agencies, as well as private entities, which together form an ALERT network. These agencies and entities have joined together not only to share data, but have also formed the ALERT Users Group (AUG). The AUG has members from all 8 NWS Western Region states. Other ALERT User Groups include the Southwestern Association of ALERT Systems (SAAS), and ALERT/IFLOWS (a group in the Eastern U.S.). ALERT Users in the state of Arizona are part of both the AUG and the SAAS.

Salt River Project (SRP)

The Salt River Project, located in Central Arizona, is one of the state's largest providers of electric utilities and water. The side of SRP that deals with water is a private corporation. They maintain and operate dams, groundwater wells, and canals that deliver water for municipal use, as well as agricultural and urban irrigation use. How the NWS works with the SRP

Bonneville Power Administration (BPA)

The BPA is an agency that is part of the Department of Energy. The BPA sells approximately 46% of the power consumed in the Northwest. The BPA owns and operates one of the largest high-voltage electrical transmission systems in the world, in order to deliver power. This electric power is produced at 29 federal dams along the Columbia-Snake River Basin. The dams are owned by other agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation. The main area that BPA services cover, includes the states of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Western Montana. The service area also covers smaller portions California, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. How the NWS works with the BPA

California Department of Water Resources (DWR)

Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA)

The Bureau of Indian Affairs is part of the Department of the Interior. The BIA acts as the principle agent of the United States in carrying out the responsibilities that the U.S. has as a trustee, for property it holds for federally-recognized tribes and individual American Indians. How the NWS works with the Bureau of Indian Affairs:

International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC)

The U.S. and Mexico share several water bodies (i.e. the Rio Grande, Colorado River, Tijuana River, etc.). The two countries have agreed to various treaties, that include such issues as: distribution, regulation, storage (dams) and conservation of water, and the protection of lands and environments along the rivers from flooding and sanitation/water quality problems. IBWC is tasked with regulating and exercising the rights and obligations that the two Governments assumed by signing the various treaties and agreements. They are also tasked with the settlement of any disputes between the two governments that may arise, with regard to the 1,952 mile border they share. How the NWS works with the IBWC:

British Columbia Hydro (BC Hydro)

BC Hydro is a power company in Canada. They provide electricity to the people of British Columbia via hydroelectric power generation. Their area of responsibility includes Columbia River, which flows from British Columbia into the northwest United States. Because this river system is so vital to both countries, cooperation and coordination between the two nations is extremely important. How the NWS works with B.C. Hydro:

State and Local Government and Other Entities

Each HSA will have its own unique group of users and/or cooperating agencies. It is critical the all Hydrologic Program Managers know and work with the state and local agencies/entities who use NWS Hydrology products and share data and/or equipment with the NWS. For example, the Tennessee River System.