Rivers and Streams
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) collects data about the country's surface water, such as how much water is flowing in our streams and rivers, and when a river reaches "flood stage".
The USGS operates and maintains a nationwide streamgaging network of about 7,000 gages.
Real-time streamflow data are available from the U.S. Geological Survey for over 4200 stations throughout the United States. These data are available only through the World-Wide Web.
USGS real-time streamflow data typically are recorded at 15- to 60-minute intervals, stored onsite, and then transmitted to USGS offices every 1 to 4 hours, depending on the data relay technique used.
Occasionally, a piece of equipment may malfunction or there may be physical problems at a station. USGS tries to correct a station or equipment problem within several days of its first occurrence, and is generally successful in meeting this goal.
Go to the current water resources conditions site at WaterWatch for a map of real-time streamflow in the United States for the day of the year.
Why do some real-time stream-gaging stations experience equipment problems for extended periods of time?
USGS tries to correct an equipment or station problem within several days of its first occurence, and is generally successful in meeting this goal.
Does the USGS have streamflow records that are appropriate for use in the study of climate variation?
For streamflow records to reflect variations in climate there needs to be an absence of any other major causes that would radically alter streamflow patterns during that time.
Six criteria by which station records were examined for suitability for inclusion in the Hydro-Climatic Data Network (HCDN) were defined as follows:
I frequently kayak the Potomac River and the real-time stage data reported by USGS seem to be too high (or too low). Are the USGS data inaccurate?
There may be occasional equipment or database problems where erroneous data are reported for short periods of time until corrections can be made.
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