Welcome to the

National Water Center

Scientific excellence and innovation driving water prediction to support decisions for a water-resilient nation.

See the NWC fact sheet


The National Water Center (NWC) is a geographically distributed organization which includes elements in Maryland, Minnesota and Alabama. The NWC collaboratively researches, develops and delivers state-of-the-science national hydrologic analyses, forecast information, data, decision-support services and guidance to support and inform essential emergency services and water management decisions. In partnership with NWS national, regional, and local offices, the NWC coordinates, integrates and supports consistent water prediction activities from global to local levels.

Looking Forward

The National Water Center launches a historic transformation and modernization of hydrology and water prediction services within NOAA’s National Weather Service. The National Water Center will play a critical role in enhancing water-related products and decision-support services across the country in support of the strategic objective to build a Weather-Ready Nation.

The National Water Center provides an unprecedented opportunity to improve federal coordination and collaboration in the water sector to address 21st century water resource challenges, such as water security and analysis and prediction of hydrologic extremes

The Building

Responding to the nation’s growing need for intelligence to inform water management NOAA built the nation’s first-ever National Water Center, located on the campus of the University of Alabama. The 65,000-square-foot “green” building will become the U.S. center for water forecast operations. The Center also supports, research and collaboration across federal water science and management agencies.

The Design

The National Water Center is a sustainable building with LEED gold certification through the U.S. Green Building Council. Environmentally sustainable features were used in the building design, including a drip irrigation system and water conservation features. The builder also used products with high recycled content that were either regionally or locally sourced, and wood that was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

Building Details

The building is designed with unique features to support a new, highly collaborative and comprehensive water resources services to address the needs of stakeholders and help build more resilient communities. With capacity for a staff of 200, the interagency personnel of the National Water Center include employees from NOAA, USGS, FEMA, Visiting Scientists and contractors.

Building Resources

  • Water resources forecasting operations center
  • Applied water resources research and development center
  • Proving ground for transitioning research into operations
  • Geo-intelligence facility
  • Airborne snow and soil moisture observation analysis facility