When I started at the USGS in 1987, people who needed to know (like the Delaware River Master) would call us on the phone daily for this information - now, thanks to the dedicated and creative efforts of my colleagues, real-time streamflow information is readily available to everyone with access to internet or text.
Two things I need to say:
1. A flow gage near you is likely to be discontinued in the near future due to the sequester and anticipated FY14 budget cuts, putting both the scientific value of long-term data records, and the data's usefulness to save lives and property, at risk.
2. In contrast -- what has your congress-person (who BTW is NOT going without pay this summer) done for you lately, besides discouraging young people to choose a career serving the public? by freezing pay and cutting benefits?