McLennan County rain gauge program to help water management - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

McLennan County rain gauge program to help water management

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Checking rain gauges may soon help the city better understand drought and its effects in McLennan County.

It's part of a partnership with the city of Waco, Baylor University, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and the National Weather Service (NWS) to put 40 or more rain gauges around the city. As part of a national program called the CoCoRAHS network, volunteers check special rain gauges everyday and post the results online.

Organizations say knowing how much rain falls in several different places throughout the county helps them in several different ways. It helps define stormwater runoff, calibrate weather models, assess effects of irrigation within the city and could help understand the effects of a drought.

"The beginning of any water management protocol at all starts with rainfall, the source of the water and so the better data we have on the beginning of the water cycle, the rainfall, the better we can manage our water," Baylor professor of geology Joe Yelderman said.

Yelderman says the greatest benefit is just knowing where rainfall occurs throughout the county. He says this is a basic start that can lead to better understanding in the future.

The rain gauges cost $30 each and are designed to minimize evaporation and give as accurate a measurement as possible. The city of Waco says they've bought 40, at a bulk rate, for this volunteer program.

"It's a great way for people to get involved and learn more about the impacts of rainfall and also experience that citizens science. Giving back and sharing the knowledge of what they're experiencing within their community," city of Waco watershed administrator Jenna Walker said.

Walker says they're still looking for volunteers to help out with the program. It's a one-year commitment to read and log the information daily. The first training session is scheduled for June 9th at 4:00 p.m. at the Baylor Research and Innovation Center (BRIC). If you'd like to join you can email Jenna Walker at JennaW@ci.waco.tx.us.
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