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The USGS National Water-Quality Assessment Project (NAWQA) is now part of the USGS National Water-Quality Program (NWQP). NAWQA provides nationally consistent data and information on the quality of the Nation’s water. Studies provide information on current water-quality conditions, a baseline for trend evaluation, and an understanding of what factors affect water quality. Groundwater studies for the NAWQA program provide information on the quality of water in shallow monitoring wells, domestic-supply wells, and public-supply wells. The data collected from surface water samples will be used in a national context to describe water quality characteristics of rivers and streams influenced by various land uses (urban, agricultural, and reference).
In 1991, Congress established the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) to address where, when, why, and how the Nation's water quality has changed, or is likely to change in the future, in response to human activities and natural factors. Since then, NAWQA has been a leading source of scientific data and knowledge used by national, regional, state, and local agencies to develop science-based policies and management strategies to improve and protect water resources used for drinking water, recreation, irrigation, energy development, and ecosystem needs.
NAWQA studies have been conducted during decadal cycles:
NAWQA Cycle 3 has the followig science goals:
As part of the NWQP, groundwater quality is being characterized in 20 of the nation’s 68 Principle aquifers, including the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system underlying southern New Jersey. NAWQA studies of Groundwater quality – Current Conditions and Changes Through Time include Land Use Studies (LUS), Major Aquifer Studies (MAS), and Principal Aquifer Studies (PAS). These three study types are based on sampling networks of wells distributed across an area of interest.
As part of NAWQA Cycle III, USGS scientists collect and record both water levels and water quality data on local groundwater through well networks and collect samples within LUS, MAS, and PAS network within the Kirkwood-Cohansey aquifer system.
The Decadal Change in Groundwater Quality web-mapping application shows how concentrations of pesticides, nutrients, metals, and organic contaminants in groundwater are changing during decadal periods across the Nation. Site information and data are available here:
NAWQA characterizes the status and trends of water quality and aquatic ecosystems by monitoring ambient water-quality and ecological conditions through the newly established National Water Quality Network (NWQN) for Rivers and Streams. The NWQN is the primary source of data for the systematic annual reporting of ambient conditions nationally. The new NWQN includes 22 large river coastal sites, 41 large river inland sites, 30 wadeable stream reference sites, 10 wadeable stream urban sites, and 10 wadeable stream agricultural sites.
Two NWQN sites are currently monitored in New Jersey:
The large coastal river site Delaware River at Trenton, NJ (USGS Site ID 01463500). Water-quality samples are collected from this site 14 times per year and analyzed for:
The reference site McDonalds Branch in Byrne State Forest, NJ (USGS Site ID 01466500). Ecological samples are collected at this site once per year in August and the data is available online at the USGS BioData website. Water-quality samples are collected from this site 18 times per year and analyzed for:
Below are other science projects associated with this project.
Below are data or web applications associated with this project.
The trends mapper provides results from the largest-ever assessment of water-quality changes in the Nation's streams and rivers. More than 185 million water-quality records from over 600 Federal, State, Tribal, and local organizations were screened as part of this assessment.
The mapper shows stream trends in water chemistry and aquatic ecology for four time periods from 1972-2012.
Almost one-half of the U.S. population rely on groundwater for their water supply, and demand for groundwater for public supply, irrigation, and agriculture continues to increase. This mapper shows how concentrations of pesticides, nutrients, metals, and organic contaminants in groundwater are changing during decadal periods across the Nation.