The USGS monitors the effects of drought through data collection and research of long-term hydrologic, climatic, and environmental changes. These studies support successful planning and science-based decision-making by water managers who must address complex issues and competing interests in times of drought. They also and help decision-makers prepare for climate change and possible future drought.
The USGS maintains a network of nearly 500 streamgages in California that delivers a continuous source of streamflow data. When water levels change rapidly, or reach flood-stage levels, flood-warning alerts are issued help emergency managers assess potential hazardous conditions near the gage or for downstream locations.
In an increasingly arid California landscape, wildfires pose significant threat to life, property, and air quality, and have long-term impacts on the state's water. Wildfire can significantly alter the hydrologic response of a watershed to the extent that even modest rainstorms can produce dangerous flash floods and debris flow, and water quality within and downstream from a burn area may be significantly impacted.
California Flood Science
The USGS California Water Science Center maintains nearly 500 streamgages that collect data to determine the amount of water flowing in rivers and streams in California to help emergency managers during floods and other water-related hazard events.
California Drought Science
The USGS closely monitors the effects of drought through data collection and research, supporting successful planning and science-based decision-making by water managers who must address complex issues and competing interests in times of drought.
California Wildfire Science
Wildfires pose considerable risks to water quality & quantity, which in turn affect water supplies, fisheries, & aquatic habitats. The USGS studies the effects past, current, & future wildfires have upon California's water resources.