Nevada Water Science Center

Hydrologic Research

The NVWSC scientists are developing state-of-the-art methods for water quantity and quality assessments, predictive hydrologic models that are key to evaluating future responses of the water cycle to climate change, water resource assessments instrumental to policy makers for clearly weighing the competing energy alternatives and evaluating the environmental cost for energy development, and water-quality monitoring to detect emerging and other drinking-water contaminants that pose a risk to public health.

Filter Total Items: 49
Date published: June 27, 2017
Status: Active

Measurements of Stream Discharge and Analysis of Surface Water/Groundwater Interactions in Las Vegas Wash, Las Vegas, NV

The Black Mountain Industrial (BMI) complex, in Henderson, Nevada, has been the site of industrial chemical production since 1942. Perchlorate contaminants, from activities at BMI, have moved through the groundwater system and have been discovered in the Las Vegas Wash, prompting water resource investigations and groundwater treatment by the Nevada Division of Environmental Protection (NDEP)....

Contacts: Jon Wilson
Date published: June 26, 2017
Status: Completed

Evaluation of Black Rock Desert National Conservation Area

Minimal hydrologic data are available for the Black Rock National Conservation Area (BRNCA). USGS scientists collected baseline spring flow, groundwater level, and precipitation data to support concurrent ecological studies of perennial springs in the BRNCA by the Desert Research Institute.  The collection of baseline hydrologic data is the initial step for determining how ecosystems in the...

Contacts: David W Smith
Date published: June 26, 2017
Status: Active

Water for the Seasons

Water for the Seasons (WftS) is a four year study funded by the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. WtfS uses the Truckee-Carson River System (TCRS) as a pilot study to learn how to best link science with decision-making in snow-fed arid-land...

Date published: June 8, 2017
Status: Active

Evaluation of Groundwater Flow in the Middle Carson River Basin, Eagle, Dayton, and Churchill Valleys, Nevada

Demand for water resources in the Carson River basin is increasing due to steady population growth and the resulting development and changes in land and water use throughout the middle part of the basin.  Agricultural land is being urbanized while land not previously irrigated may be converted for agricultural use.  

Contacts: Eric Morway
Date published: June 8, 2017
Status: Active

Delineation of Flood-Inundation Areas in Grapevine Canyon near Scotty’s Castle, Death Valley National Park, California

On October 18, 2015 an intense, nearly stationary, thunderstorm triggered flooding in Grapevine Canyon. Grapevine Canyon Road, power and water infrastructure, and several buildings at Scotty’s Castle were damaged by the flood water, necessitating closure of the area to the public. In response to the flood event, the National Park Service requested the USGS Nevada Water Science Center perform a...

Date published: June 5, 2017
Status: Active

Amargosa Integrated Monitoring Network

The National Park Service, Nye County, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and USGS Nevada Water Science Center (NVWSC) have established a water-level and spring discharge monitoring network in the southern Amargosa Desert to identify long-term trends and monitor potential impacts of activities on groundwater resources. The Amargosa Integrated Monitoring Network (AIMN) continues the long-term...

Contacts: Jon Wilson
Date published: June 2, 2017
Status: Active

Groundwater Discharge by Evapotranspiration from Areas of Spring-Fed Riparian Vegetation, Stump Spring and Hiko Springs, Nev.

Stump Spring has been designated as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), and Hiko Springs currently is in the designation process. Both springs flow intermittently in drainages where the depth to groundwater is shallow. The shallow groundwater flowing to and from the springs sustain scarce desert riparian habitats. BLM has recognized a need for...

Contacts: Michael Moreo
Date published: May 26, 2017
Status: Active

Evaporation from Lake Mead and Lake Mohave, Lower Colorado River Basin, Nevada and Arizona

The Bureau of Reclamation currently operates a model that projects future Colorado River reservoir volumes and potential dam operations based on current and forecasted hydrologic conditions, and operational policies and guidelines (the 24-Month Study). Each month a water budget is developed and Colorado River reservoir...

Contacts: Michael Moreo
Date published: May 26, 2017
Status: Active

Estimating Annual Groundwater Discharge by Evapotranspiration Along the Wild and Scenic Portion of the Amargosa River

The USGS Nevada Water Science Center is refining estimates of annual groundwater discharge along the Wild and Scenic portion of the Amargosa River (AWSR) and adjacent spring discharge areas. Discharge estimates will be based on evapotranspiration (ET) measurements made along the Amargosa River during a 2-year period, previous estimates of evapotranspiration rates, and remote sensing techniques...

Contacts: Michael Pavelko
Date published: May 25, 2017
Status: Completed

Budgets and Chemical Characterization of Groundwater for the Diamond Valley Flow System, Central Nevada

The Diamond Valley flow system (DVFS) consists of six basins or hydrographic areas (HAs) in central Nevada: southern and northern Monitor Valleys, Antelope Valley, Kobeh Valley, Stevens Basin, and Diamond Valley. The six basins are, in part, hydrologically connected by ephemeral streams, by groundwater flow in shallow basin-fill aquifers, and, possibly, by subsurface flow in deeper carbonate-...

Contacts: David Berger
Date published: May 3, 2017
Status: Active

Chemical Quality of Water Deliveries to Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

The ecosystems of Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge (SNWR) are critical habitat for migratory birds. Increased irrigation efficiencies have reduced the amount of fresh water delivered to the wetlands, leading Congress to include provisions in the 1990 Truckee-Carson-Pyramid Lake Water Rights Settlement Act to assist with wetland restoration and maintenance. The Secretary of the Interior has...

Contacts: Carl Thodal
Date published: April 27, 2017
Status: Completed

Groundwater Discharge by Evapotranspiration, Flow of Water in Unsaturated Soil, and Stable Isotope Water Sourcing in Areas of Sparse Vegetation, Amargosa Desert, Nye County, Nevada

The USGS conducted a study to evaluate the potential for groundwater discharge from sparsely vegetated areas in the Amargosa Desert. The study objectives were to: (1) compute groundwater discharge based on evapotranspiration and precipitation measurements at instrumented sites, and (2) improve understanding of hydrologic-continuum processes controlling groundwater discharge through analysis of...

Contacts: Michael Moreo