Chester County Studies

Science Center Objects

Since 1969, The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has had a cooperative program with Chester County to measure and describe water resources. Cooperation has been primarily with the Chester County Water Resources Authority (CCWRA), with participation from the Chester County Health Department. This partnership provides Chester County with scientific information that it uses for sound water-resources management.

Photo of USGS scientist testing groundwater samples for water quality. 

USGS scientist tests groundwater samples for water quality.  (Credit: Laura Hallberg, USGS. Public domain.)

Chester County Web Application

The CCWRA was created in 1961, primarily for land acquisition and planning for flood-control and water-supply projects. With the backing of the Brandywine Valley Association, the CCWRA started its first cooperative project with the USGS in 1969. It was a study of the water-quality condition of Chester County streams with an emphasis on benthic-macroinvertebrates and stream chemistry.

The types of projects and data collection conducted by the USGS have changed with the needs of Chester County and the mission of the CCWRA. Chester County is experiencing rapid population growth resulting in considerable stress on water resources. In response, the CCWRA has broadened its focus from flood control to water-supply planning, water quality, and groundwater and surface-water management. The results of USGS studies are used by the CCWRA and other county agencies, including the Planning Commission, Health Department, and Parks and Recreation, for conducting day-to-day activities and planning for future growth. The results also are used by the CCWRA to provide guidance and technical assistance to municipalities, water suppliers, industrial dischargers, watershed and conservancy associations and other civic organizations, state and Federal agencies, river basin commissions, and the private sector.

The cooperative water-resources program benefits not only citizens of Chester County but also those in other states as the headwaters of several interstate drainages lie within the county. In addition, the program serves the interests of the Federal government as innovative studies conducted in Chester County provide methods and interpretations that often can be used nationwide. Major program thrusts include collection of surface-water, groundwater, and water-quality data and interpretive studies.