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Science

The U.S. Geological Survey California Water Science Center provides foundational data and scientific analysis to address water issues facing California. Explore your science through the themes and topics listed below. 

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Advanced Capabilities and Research

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Aquatic Ecosystems

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Groundwater

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Hydrologic Extremes

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Hydrologic Modeling

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Measuring and Monitoring

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Surface Water

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Water Quality

FAQs

What is the Earth's "water cycle?"

The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water as it makes a circuit from the oceans to the atmosphere to the Earth and on again. Most of Earth's water is in the oceans. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Rising vapor cools and condenses into clouds. Cloud particles grow and...

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What is the Earth's "water cycle?"

The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water as it makes a circuit from the oceans to the atmosphere to the Earth and on again. Most of Earth's water is in the oceans. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Rising vapor cools and condenses into clouds. Cloud particles grow and...

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How much of the Earth's water is stored in glaciers?

About 2.1% of all of Earth's water is frozen in glaciers. 97.2% is in the oceans and inland seas 2.1% is in glaciers 0.6% is in groundwater and soil moisture less than 1% is in the atmosphere less than 1% is in lakes and rivers less than 1% is in all living plants and animals. About three-quarters of Earth's freshwater is stored in glaciers. Therefore, glacier ice is the second largest reservoir...

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How much of the Earth's water is stored in glaciers?

About 2.1% of all of Earth's water is frozen in glaciers. 97.2% is in the oceans and inland seas 2.1% is in glaciers 0.6% is in groundwater and soil moisture less than 1% is in the atmosphere less than 1% is in lakes and rivers less than 1% is in all living plants and animals. About three-quarters of Earth's freshwater is stored in glaciers. Therefore, glacier ice is the second largest reservoir...

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How important is groundwater?

Groundwater, which is in aquifers below the surface of the Earth, is one of the Nation's most important natural resources. Groundwater is the source of about 37 percent of the water that county and city water departments supply to households and businesses (public supply). It provides drinking water for more than 90 percent of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them from...

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How important is groundwater?

Groundwater, which is in aquifers below the surface of the Earth, is one of the Nation's most important natural resources. Groundwater is the source of about 37 percent of the water that county and city water departments supply to households and businesses (public supply). It provides drinking water for more than 90 percent of the rural population who do not get their water delivered to them from...

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Education

USGS Scientists Explain How Aquifer Compaction is Measured

A recent tour of California’s Central Valley given by the nonprofit organization Water Education Foundation included a stop at the USGS California Water Science Center’s extensometer near Porterville.

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USGS Scientists Explain How Aquifer Compaction is Measured

A recent tour of California’s Central Valley given by the nonprofit organization Water Education Foundation included a stop at the USGS California Water Science Center’s extensometer near Porterville.

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USGS Participates in 2021 Orange County Youth Environmental Summit

From April 19th through the 23rd, 2021, the USGS California Water Science Center (CAWSC) participated in the first virtual Orange County Youth Environmental Summit (YES). The award-winning program, formerly known as the Children's Water Education Festival, offers 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders opportunities for learning and engagement. Through interactive sessions, YES teaches youth that

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USGS Participates in 2021 Orange County Youth Environmental Summit

From April 19th through the 23rd, 2021, the USGS California Water Science Center (CAWSC) participated in the first virtual Orange County Youth Environmental Summit (YES). The award-winning program, formerly known as the Children's Water Education Festival, offers 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders opportunities for learning and engagement. Through interactive sessions, YES teaches youth that

Learn More