California Water Science Center

Advanced Capabilities and Research

The California Water Science Center is continually developing tools and technical capabilities to meet the ever-changing demands of hydrologic management, and to advance and support hydrologic research. The resulting solutions provide decision-makers with sophisticated information, insights, and data needed to address today’s water issues.

Contact the USGS California Water Science Center for hydrologic technical assistance.

Filter Total Items: 19
Date published: July 24, 2019
Status: Active

Organic Matter Research Laboratory

The USGS California Water Science Center's Organic Matter Research Laboratory provides laboratory services and support to regional and national projects in the analysis of organic matter using the latest methods in absorbance and fluorescence spectroscopy along with standard measurement of total dissolved organic carbon and nitrogen concentration.

Date published: June 12, 2019
Status: Active

Land Subsidence in California

Extensive groundwater withdrawals from aquifer systems have caused land subsidence in many California basins. Land subsidence can cause infrastructure damage, not only to buildings and roads but also to water conveyence systems. Groundwater-level and land-subsidence monitoring provide the information needed to guide mitigation efforts and management of future effects.

Date published: June 4, 2019
Status: Completed

Examining Erosion at Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park, a Sierra Nevada Gold Mine

Located in Nevada County, California, Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park was the Sierra Nevada’s largest hydraulic gold mine, operating from 1866 to 1884. Historically, part of the process of hydraulic mining included using mercury to extract gold from produced sediment through the process of amalgamation. This process left thousands of pounds of mercury and other heavy metals in the area....

Date published: April 26, 2019
Status: Active

Regional Groundwater Availability Study of the California Coastal Basins

This study seeks to quantify water availability in the California Coastal Basins (CCBs). The CCBs vary greatly in their geologic, hydrologic, and climatic conditions; predominant water uses (agricultural, urban, or environmental); and how water availability changes in response to natural and anthropogenic stresses. Considering the complex dynamics of the CCBs and the history of managing water...

Date published: February 4, 2019
Status: Completed

Using the Basin Characterization Model (BCM) to Estimate Natural Recharge in Indian Wells Valley, California

Located in the northern Mojave Desert, the Indian Wells Valley has an arid environment, receiving only 4-6 inches of precipitation annually. Like most desert areas, Indian Wells Valley communities rely mostly on groundwater for their available groundwater supply. Increases in urban and agricultural development have resulted in increased groundwater pumpage for public and agricultural use,...

Contacts: Dina Saleh
Date published: December 21, 2018
Status: Active

California Streamgage Information

To help emergency managers and others protect life and property due to floods and other water-related hazards, the USGS delivers a continuous source of streamflow information. The U.S. Geological Survey has been measuring streamflow in the U.S. for over 120 years. We operate more...

Date published: December 20, 2018
Status: Active

California Flood Science

To help emergency managers and others protect life and property due to floods and other water-related hazards, the USGS delivers a continuous source of streamflow information. The USGS California Water Science Center maintains nearly 500 streamgages that collect...

Date published: December 10, 2018
Status: Active

Surrogate Monitoring of Sediment Transport using Hydrophones along the San Joaquin River and Tributaries

Traditional methods for measuring coarse bedload sediment transport by discrete physical sampling tend to be labor intensive and expensive (Gray and others, 2010). As such, bedload samples often are collected too infrequently to capture the temporal variability inherent in transport rates, which can vary significantly, sometimes by a factor of ten or more, over time periods of...

Date published: December 7, 2018
Status: Active

Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR)

Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) is an effective way to measure changes in land surface altitude. InSAR makes high-density measurements over large areas by using radar signals from Earth-orbiting satellites to measure changes in land-surface altitude at high degrees of measurement resolution and spatial detail (Galloway and others, 2000).

Synthetic Aperture...

Contacts: Michelle Sneed
Date published: November 19, 2018
Status: Active

California Oil, Gas, and Groundwater (COGG) Program

The USGS California Water Science Center is working in partnership with state and federal agencies to answer the following questions about oil and gas development and groundwater resources:

Date published: November 13, 2018
Status: Active

Science Programs and Partnerships

The USGS partners with local, state, and other federal agencies through cooperative agreements for a variety of reasons. The USGS and partners jointly plan the scientific work conducted under cooperative agreements resulting in science that has broad relevance to address current water issues. Partners choose...

Date published: November 8, 2018
Status: Completed

Basin Characterization Model (BCM)

The Basin Characterization Model (BCM) is a simple grid-based model that calculates the water balance for any time step or spatial scale by using climate inputs, precipitation, minimum and maximum air temperature. The BCM can translate fine-scale maps of climate trends and projections into the hydrologic consequences, to permit evaluation of the impacts to water availability at regional,...

Contacts: Debra Curry