California Water Science Center

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The U.S. Geological Survey, California Water Science Center (CAWSC) provides reliable, impartial, foundational data and scientific analysis to address water issues facing California today. We conduct hydrologic monitoring and investigative studies in partnership with Federal, State, and local agencies to assist them in managing California's water resources.

Find out more about about CAWSC science programs and partnerships

Water Research Projects

Water Research Projects

Over 100 research projects addressing California's key water issues including: long-term water supply and availability, water quality, droughts and floods, climate change, aquatic ecology, the Delta, management of watersheds and groundwater.

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Partnering with Us

Partnering with Us

The USGS partners with local, state, and other federal agencies to provide scientific information needed by water-resources managers across the Nation.

Find out how

California Water Data

Basic hydrologic data collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and archiving are major parts of the California Water Science Center program.

National Water Information System Mapper

Current California Streamflow Conditions

California Runoff

USGS WaterWatch

USGS Flood Event Viewer

California Post-Fire Debris-Flow Maps

California Water-Quality Mapper

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News

Date published: November 7, 2019

USGS Scientist to Discusses the Impacts of Agricultural Runoff in California’s Bay-Delta

Research Chemist, Dr. Michelle Hladik, presented her research on current-use pesticides being introduced into certain areas of California’s Bay-Delta ecosystem. Dr. Hladik’s presentation took place at the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) Annual...

Date published: October 15, 2019

The Ups and Downs of Groundwater Levels after the July 2019 Ridgecrest, CA Earthquakes

Effects from the two July 2019 Ridgecrest, CA earthquakes were observed in several USGS continuous groundwater-level monitoring sites in California, Nevada, and Arizona.

Date published: September 23, 2019

USGS Science at Work in the San Francisco Bay Estuary

In an article written for the Interagency Ecological Program for the San Francisco Estuary, Dr. Paul Work and Dr. Maureen Downing-Kunz, of the California Water Science Center, provide examples of the work being done to measure water flow and quality in the San Francisco Estuary.

Below is the article in its entirety.

Publications

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Year Published: 2019

Near-field receiving-water monitoring of trace metals and a benthic community near the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant in south San Francisco Bay, California—2018

Trace-metal concentrations in sediment and in the clam Macoma petalum (formerly reported as Macoma balthica), clam reproductive activity, and benthic macroinvertebrate community structure were investigated in a mudflat 1 kilometer south of the discharge of the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (PARWQCP) in south San...

Cain, Daniel J.; Thompson, Janet K.; Parchaso, Francis; Pearson, Sarah; Stewart, Robin; Turner, Matthew A.; Shrader, Kelly H.; Zierdt Smith, Emily L.; Luoma, Samuel N.
Cain, D.J., Thompson, J.K., Parchaso, F., Pearson, S., Stewart, R., Turner, M., Shrader, K.H., Zierdt Smith, E.L., and Luoma, S.N., 2019, Near-field receiving-water monitoring of trace metals and a benthic community near the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant in south San Francisco Bay, California—2018: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2019–1084, 41 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20191084.

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Year Published: 2019

Summary of hydrologic testing, wellbore-flow data, and expanded water-level and water-quality data, 2011–15, Fort Irwin National Training Center, San Bernardino County, California

In view of the U.S. Army’s historical reliance and plans to increase demands on groundwater to supply its operations at Fort Irwin National Training Center (NTC), California, coupled with the continuing water-level declines in some developed groundwater basins as a result of pumping, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the U.S....

Nawikas, Joseph M.; Densmore, Jill N.; O'Leary, David R.; Buesch, David C.; Izbicki, John A.
Nawikas, J.M., Densmore, J.N., O’Leary, D.R., Buesch, D.C., and Izbicki, J.A., 2019, Summary of hydrologic testing, wellbore-flow data, and expanded water-level and water-quality data, 2011–15, Fort Irwin National Training Center, San Bernardino County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019–5091, 161 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195091.

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Year Published: 2019

Quantifying the eroded and deposited mass of mercury-contaminated sediment by using terrestrial laser scanning at the confluence of Humbug Creek and the South Yuba River, Nevada County, California, 2011–13

High-resolution, terrestrial laser scanning, also known as ground-based lidar (light detection and ranging), was used to quantify the volume of mercury-contaminated sediment eroded from an outcrop of historical placer-mining debris at the confluence of Humbug Creek and the South Yuba River in the Sierra Nevada foothills, about 17 kilometers...

Howle, James F.; Alpers, Charles N.; Kitchen, Jeffrey; Bawden, Gerald W.; Bond, Sandra
Howle, J.F., Alpers, C.N., Kitchen, J., Bawden, G.W., and Bond, S., 2019, Quantifying the eroded and deposited mass of mercury-contaminated sediment by using terrestrial laser scanning at the confluence of Humbug Creek and the South Yuba River, Nevada County, California, 2011–13: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2019– 5104, 30 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20195104.