Streamgaging: Silent Sentinels

Science Center Objects

Streamflow data are needed at many sites on a daily basis for forecasting flow extremes, making water-management decisions, assessing current water availability, managing water quality, and meeting legal requirements. These activities require streamflow information at a given location for a specified time. These needs generally are best satisfied by operating a station to produce a continuous record of flow. The locations of the stations and the periods of operation are dictated by the uses to be made of the data. More than one-half of the USGS stations provide current information to agencies that operate water-resource systems and forecast floods.

Quick Links:

USGS Current Water Data for New Mexico

USGS Water Data for the Nation

USGS Surface-Water Historical Instantaneous Data for the Nation

USGS Site at Embudo, NM

NWIS Mapper



New Mexico surface water sites, NMWSC

NWIS Mapper thumbnail image of New Mexico's surface water sites, NMWSC

(Public domain.)



    - Locate streamgages along major tributaries of rivers and streams to assess discharge

    - Provide long-term data for flood frequency prediction, and for flow patterns within various river basins

    - Respond to flood events to characterize flow regime in ephemeral, intermittent, and perennial channels


Diagram of a streamgage installation, USGS

(Public domain.)



The USGS stream-gaging program provides hydrologic information needed to help define, use, and manage the Nation's water resources. The program provides a continuous, well-documented, well-archived, unbiased, and broad-based source of reliable and consistent water data.


Embudo Gage Graph, NMWSC

Image of an NWIS graph of Embudo, NM gage showing discharge measurements 

(Public domain.)