The effects of drought
Lake Shasta in Northern California showing low water levels during a recent drought.
Monitoring rivers and streams during high-water events
The Consumes River, near Sacramento, experienced record streamflow over the 2022 New Year's holiday weekend as an atmospheric river moved through northern California.
The aftermath of wildfire
Wildfires reduce the forest canopy, exposing snowpack to direct sunlight. This increases the rate of snowmelt and evaporation, impacting runoff and groundwater replenishment.
Water is essential for all life on Earth, but too much water – or too little – can cause big problems. The USGS California Water Science Center studies a wide range of water-related hazards, from large storms and flooding to drought and post-wildfire runoff and helps communities plan for and respond to water-related emergencies.