Nevada Water Science Center

Water Availability and Use

Water for agriculture and livestock is the largest use of both surface- and groundwater in Nevada. As the Nation’s most arid state, management of Nevada’s water resources is critical and complex. NVWSC is focused on developing new and innovative science to evaluate and answer the complex questions regarding Nevada’s water availabilty and use.

Filter Total Items: 27
Date published: June 13, 2018
Status: Active

Development of landscape variables to inform models of meadow vulnerabilities and adaptation under changing climate

The USGS Nevada Water Science Center is providing technical assistance for the collection of landscape variables hypothesized to influence meadow responses to climate and restoration activities. These data will be used in a decision support framework developed by the U.S. Forest Service (USFS) and Desert Research Institute (DRI). 

Date published: April 25, 2018
Status: Active

Evaluation of water-level decline and aquifer properties in the Virginia City Highlands and Highland Ranches Volcanic Rock aquifer system, Storey County, Nevada

The Virginia City Highlands and Highland Ranches (VC Highlands) are a rural residential housing area established along the ridge of the Virginia Range in Storey County, Nevada. Approximately 1,400 residents exclusively rely on domestic wells for water supply and domestic well depths range from 75 to 1,175 ft below land surface. NVWSC monitors water levels annually in two domestic wells in the...

Contacts: David W Smith
Date published: December 21, 2017
Status: Active

Quantifying Seepage Losses on the Truckee Canal, Derby Dam to Lahontan Reservoir

Seepage losses from the Truckee Canal poses major challenges to water managers. Seepage losses result in inefficiencies in water delivery and cause more water than is needed by farmers to be diverted from the Truckee River to meet required demands. Increased diversions from the Truckee River result in less water flowing through the lower Truckee River system and into Pyramid Lake, a terminal...

Contacts: Ramon C Naranjo
Date published: December 18, 2017
Status: Active

Hydrology of the Walker River Basin

Walker Lake is one of the few perennial, natural terminal lakes in the Great Basin.  The ecosystems and recreational uses of Walker Lake and other terminal lakes in the Great Basin have become at-risk due to consumptive water use. 

Contacts: Kip Allander
Date published: December 18, 2017

Aquifer Tests in Nevada

Many aquifer tests have been conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey to estimate hydraulic properties of aquifers in Nevada and adjacent states. Transmissivity is the principal hydraulic property that has been estimated from the aquifer tests in Nevada because these values directly affect estimates of ground-water flow.

Contacts: Philip Gardner
Date published: December 18, 2017

Evapotranspiration Studies in Nevada

Evapotranspiration (ET) is the process that transfers water from land surface to the atmosphere as evaporation (or sublimation when below freezing) from open water, soil, and plant canopies and as transpiration by plants. ET is measured by scientists for many different reasons. Hydrologists from the Nevada Water Scientist Center (NVWSC) typically measure ET to help quantify water budgets....

Contacts: Michael Moreo
Date published: December 5, 2017

Science in the Colorado River Basin

The Colorado River is one of the longest rivers in the Western United States. It begins in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado and flows southwestward until it reaches Mexico where it becomes a small stream or dry riverbed. The Colorado River forms the border between southeastern Nevada and northwestern Arizona. In Nevada, Hoover Dam and Davis Dam control the flow of the river and create two...

Date published: December 1, 2017
Status: Active

Science in the Walker River Basin

The Walker River begins in the Sierra Nevada as the East Walker River and the West Walker River. In Mason Valley, just south of Yerington, Nev., the rivers converge to create the the Walker River. The Walker River terminates in Walker Lake.

Date published: December 1, 2017
Status: Active

Science in the Truckee River Basin

The Truckee River flows for 120 miles from the outlet of Lake Tahoe in California, into Nevada, through the city of Reno, until it terminates at Pyramid Lake and is the only source of surface-water outflow from Lake Tahoe. The majority of the streamflow in the Truckee River comes from the Sierra Nevada snowpack. Contributions to the river in Nevada are small due to the Sierra Nevada’s “rain...

Date published: November 30, 2017
Status: Completed

Water Resources of the Upper Humboldt River Basin

Elko County officials and citizens are concerned about growing demand for groundwater within the county and demands for groundwater that are occurring elsewhere in the state. Because the Humboldt River is fully appropriated, any additional water needed to support growth in the upper Humboldt River Basin will have to come from groundwater. County and state water-resource managers need...

Contacts: David Berger
Date published: October 11, 2017
Status: Active

Drought in Nevada

Ongoing drought, in Nevada and across the West, will require scientists to develop new ideas and techniques for measuring, monitoring, modeling, and managing water resources. NVWSC has the capabilities to meet these challenges with our extensive scientific expertise in data collection, modeling, and research. We also are creating new ways to provide data to the public and stakeholders through...

Contacts: David Berger
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