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Below is a list of available Colorado Water Science Center publications and published products.

Filter Total Items: 725

A call for strategic water-quality monitoring to advance assessment and prediction of wildfire impacts on water supplies

Wildfires pose a risk to water supplies in the western U.S. and many other parts of the world, due to the potential for degradation of water quality. However, a lack of adequate data hinders prediction and assessment of post-wildfire impacts and recovery. The dearth of such data is related to lack of funding for monitoring extreme events and the challenge of measuring the outsized hydrologic and e

The water cycle

An illustrated diagram of the water cycle. This is a modern, updated version of the widely used diagram featured on the USGS Water Science School. Notably, this new water cycle diagram depicts humans and major categories of human water use as key components of the water cycle, in addition to the key pools and fluxes of the hydrologic cycle. This product targets an 8th grade audience and is designe

Hydrologic compartmentalization and analytic-element groundwater-flow simulations for a draining mine tunnel

Draining mine tunnels contribute contaminants to groundwater and surface water, but remediation strategies may be hindered as hydrogeologic characterization and modeling of these heterogeneous features generally relies on sparse data sets. The Captain Jack mine site in Colorado, USA, presents a unique data set allowing for temporal evaluation of groundwater connectivity in the vicinity of an aband

Water Science School [Bookmark]

Introduction The U.S. Geological Survey’s online Water Science School is a one-stop shop for water education resources. In addition to sharing images, data, and diagrams, the Water Science School provides lesson plans for teachers as well as multiple interactive activities for students, such as questionnaires, calculators, and quizzes. This bookmark introduces Drippy, the Water Science School masc

High resolution SnowModel simulations reveal future elevation-dependent snow loss and earlier, flashier surface water input for the Upper Colorado River Basin

Continued climate warming is reducing seasonal snowpacks in the western United States, where >50% of historical water supplies were snowmelt-derived. In the Upper Colorado River Basin, declining snow water equivalent (SWE) and altered surface water input (SWI, rainfall and snowmelt available to enter the soil) timing and magnitude affect streamflow generation and water availability. To adapt effec

Contaminant exposure and transport from three potential reuse waters within a single watershed

Global demand for safe and sustainable water supplies necessitates a better understanding of contaminant exposures in potential reuse waters. In this study, we compared exposures and load contributions to surface water from the discharge of three reuse waters (wastewater effluent, urban stormwater, and agricultural runoff). Results document substantial and varying organic-chemical contribution to

Quality of groundwater used for public supply in the continental United States: A comprehensive assessment

The presence of contaminants in a source water can constrain its suitability for drinking. The quality of groundwater used for public supply was assessed in 25 principal aquifers (PAs) that account for 84% of groundwater pumped for public supply in the U.S. (89.6 million people on a proportional basis). Each PA was sampled across its lateral extent using an equal-area grid, typically with 60 wells

Identifying nutrient sources and sinks to the South Platte River and Cherry Creek, Denver, CO, during low-flow conditions in 2019–2020

Elevated concentrations and loads of nutrients in the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in Denver, Colorado, may have adverse effects on those streams and downstream water bodies, including increased production of algae, eutrophication, and decreased recreational opportunities. This article describes streamflow and concentrations and loads of nutrients for the South Platte River and Cherry Creek

Examination of dissolved uranium concentrations in regional shallow groundwater relative to Operable Unit 8 of the Denver Radium Superfund Site

A radium industry existed between about 1914 and 1920 in Denver, Colorado, with operations located along the South Platte River. Sites associated with that industry were contaminated with radium and uranium processing residues and were incorporated into clean-up efforts as Operating Units (OUs) of the Denver Radium Superfund Site. Concentrations of uranium exceeding the U.S. Environmental Protecti

Incorporating streambank wells in stream mass loading studies to more effectively identify sources of solutes in stream water

Stream synoptic sampling studies that include flow estimates derived from the stream tracer dilution method are now commonly performed to identify sources and processes controlling solute transport to streams. However, a limitation of this mass-loading approach is its inability to identify the side of the stream on which a source is located in the common case where loading is largely from groundwa

Over a third of groundwater in USA public-supply aquifers is Anthropocene-age and susceptible to surface contamination

The distribution of groundwater age is useful for evaluating the susceptibility and sustainability of groundwater resources. Here, we compute the aquifer-scale cumulative distribution function to characterize the age distribution for 21 Principal Aquifers that account for ~80% of public-supply pumping in the United States. The aquifer-scale cumulative distribution function for each Principal Aquif

Characterization of and temporal changes in groundwater quality of the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Basin, El Paso County, Colorado, 2018–20

In 2018–20, the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Upper Black Squirrel Creek Ground Water Management District, sampled 48 wells for Phase III of a multiphase plan investigating groundwater quality in the alluvial aquifer of the Upper Black Squirrel Creek Basin (UBSB), El Paso County, Colorado. Results for samples collected from October to December each year were used to assess spatial an