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Publications

Publications produced by the Nevada Water Science Center are listed below. Older publications may not be available in electronic form yet. If a Nevada Water Science Center publication that you would like to view isn't listed below, please send email to  GS-W-NVpublic-info@ usgs.gov.

Filter Total Items: 361

Incorporating temperature into seepage loss estimates for a large unlined irrigation canal

Quantifying seepage losses from unlined irrigation canals is necessary to improve water use and conservation. The use of heat as a tracer is widely used in quantifying seepage rates across the sediment–water interface. In this study, field observations and two-dimensional numerical models were used to simulate seepage losses during the 2018 and 2019 irrigation season in the Truckee Canal system. N

Estimated effects of pumping on groundwater storage and Walker River stream efficiencies in Smith and Mason Valleys, west-central Nevada

The Walker River originates in the Sierra Nevada Mountains and flows nearly 160 miles to its terminus at Walker Lake in west-central Nevada. The river provides a source of irrigation water for tens of thousands of acres of agricultural lands in California and Nevada and is the principal source of inflow to Walker Lake. Extraction of groundwater for agricultural use became prevalent in the late 195

Working toward a National Coordinated Soil Moisture Monitoring Network: Vision, progress, and future directions

Soil moisture is a critical land surface variable, impacting the water, energy, and carbon cycles. While in situ soil moisture monitoring networks are still developing, there is no cohesive strategy or framework to coordinate, integrate, or disseminate these diverse data sources in a synergistic way that can improve our ability to understand climate variability at the national, state, and local le

In situ soil moisture sensors in undisturbed soils

Soil moisture directly affects operational hydrology, food security, ecosystem services, and the climate system. However, the adoption of soil moisture data has been slow due to inconsistent data collection, poor standardization, and typically short record duration. Soil moisture, or quantitatively volumetric soil water content (SWC), is measured using buried, in situ sensors that infer SWC from a

Simulation of heat flow in a synthetic watershed: Lags and dampening across multiple pathways under a climate-forcing scenario

Although there is widespread agreement that future climates tend toward warming, the response of aquatic ecosystems to that warming is not well understood. This work, a continuation of companion research, explores the role of distinct watershed pathways in lagging and dampening climate-change signals. It subjects a synthetic flow and transport model to a 30-year warming signal based on climate pro

Basis for technical guidance to evaluate evapotranspiration covers

This report provides technical guidance to evaluate evapotranspiration (ET) cover design criteria with emphasis on applications to long-term disposal sites such as Uranium Mill Tailings Radiation Control Act of 1978 (UMTRCA) sites. Water balance covers, also known as ET covers, reduce percolation by storing precipitation then allowing vegetation to cycle it back to the atmosphere. For long-term (o

Going beyond low flows: Streamflow drought deficit and duration illuminate distinct spatiotemporal drought patterns and trends in the U.S. during the last century

Streamflow drought is a recurring challenge, and understanding spatiotemporal patterns of past droughts is needed to manage future water resources. We examined regional patterns in streamflow drought metrics and compared these metrics to low flow timing and magnitude using long-term daily records for 555 minimally disturbed watersheds. For each streamgage, we calculated streamflow drought duration

Seasonal and long-term clarity trend assessment of Lake Tahoe, California–Nevada

The clarity of Lake Tahoe, observed using a Secchi disk on a regular basis since the late 1960s, continues to be a sentinel metric of lake health. Water clarity is influenced by physical and biological processes and has declined in the five decades of monitoring, revealing differences between summer (June–September) and winter (December–March). This document summarizes key findings of a study of L

Evapotranspiration covers at uranium mill tailings sites

Waste isolation is a key strategy for mitigating risk from municipal solid waste (MSW) and hazardous waste streams. Conventional covers at MSW facilities are designed for a 30-yr post-closure period where compacted soils and geosynthetics are used to minimize percolation into buried waste. Recently, evapotranspiration (ET) covers have shown beneficial use for MSW management. Evapotranspiration cov

Lake Tahoe clarity and associated conditions, 2022

Lake Tahoe’s clarity remains a key indicator of overall ecosystem status, and scientific understanding about factors affecting lake clarity continues to evolve. The purpose of this briefing memorandum is to summarize the status of clarity metrics and drivers of change discussed in the 2022 TSAC Data Synthesis and Analysis report. Consistent with the Lake Tahoe Total Maximum Daily Load analyses, t

Addressing stakeholder science needs for integrated drought science in the Colorado River Basin

Stakeholders need scientific data, analysis, and predictions of how drought the will impact the Colorado River Basin in a format that is continuously updated, intuitive, and easily accessible. The Colorado River Basin Actionable and Strategic Integrated Science and Technology Pilot Project was formed to demonstrate the effectiveness of addressing complex problems through stakeholder involvement an

Pervasive, preferential flow through mega-thick unsaturated zones in the Southern Great Basin

Recharge from preferential flow through mega-thick (100–1,000 m) unsaturated zones is a pervasive phenomenon, as demonstrated with a case study of volcanic highland recharge areas in the Great Basin province in southern Nevada, USA. Statistically significant rising water-level trends occur for most study-area wells and resulted from a relatively wet period (1969–2005) in south-central Nevada. Wet