Sustainable Funding


Seismometer installation in Iceland
CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons/Heidi Soosalu (Own work)

Sensor networks can be very costly to build and maintain. The US already spends tens of millions of dollars each year on earthquake research and monitoring, and would need tens of millions more to fund an earthquake warning system.

Sumatran village destroyed by tsunami
Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons/U.S. Navy

Following the deadly Sumatra earthquake and tsunami in 2004, the international community funded an Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning System. As of 2013, 30% of the tsunami warning buoys were inoperative due to lack of maintenance funding.

Ocean sunami buoy
CC-BY-2.0 or Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons/LCDR Mark Wetzler, NOAA

The reality of government funding is that money is often appropriated to projects after a major disaster, only to be withdrawn a few years later when budgets get tight.


SWS California station map
CC-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0/SWS
Always Available

Unlike existing seismic research networks, the QuakeGuard NetworkA network of seismic stations, based on the latest generation of QuakeGuards, to provide earthquake warning in California. is designed to be as homogeneous as possible. Every station uses identical components: the same GPS, the same seismometers, and the same electronics to process the data. That way, any failure in the system can be addressed quickly and cheaply.

Service truck
Public domain via Wikimedia Commons/GMC Savana, by IFCAR - Own work

Supporting the network operations entirely through subscription revenue ensures the continuation and operational readiness of the system. As long as the market demands earthquake warnings, QuakeGuardOur earthquake warning product capable of initiating alerts and protective actions for every earthquake, even at the epicenter.TM earthquake warnings will be available.


IRS Form 1040
Public Domain/U.S. Dept. of the Treasury
Equitably Supported

"Free" public earthquake warnings are not in fact free: they are paid for by taxes and fees, paid by you. By California law, funding for a public earthquake warning system cannot some from the general fund. Other sources of public funding, such as fees and assessments, are typically regressive which burdens the poor much more than regular taxes.

Truck at a fuel loading depot
CC-Attribution/NPA

Companies with costly or hazardous processes can realize significant savings. These companies can, and will, pay for earthquake warnings. But some who could benefit may not have the ability to pay. It is important to make earthquake warning widely available.

Drop, Cover, and Hold On in a school
CC-Attribution/Al Key

Seismic Warning Systems is committed to equitably providing earthquake warnings to people who need them through subsidy programs. This is why we are committed to protecting every public school in California without any ongoing costs to the schools themselves.