John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis

Water Resources

Powell Center working groups rarely are just one USGS Mission Area and are sorted into these areas by the groups themselves. Projects may be relevant to additional areas.

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Filter Total Items: 25
Date published: October 1, 2019
Status: Active

Reanalyzing and Predicting U.S. Water Use using Economic History and Forecast Data; an experiment in short-range national hydro-economic data synthesis

Water in the United States is used for myriad activities on a daily basis, such as for food (irrigation, aquaculture, livestock), energy (thermoelectric power or hydropower generation), and public water supply for domestic, commercial or industrial purposes. Yet, we lack an national accounting of how and where water is used on a temporal scale more frequent than every 5 years, and a spatial...

Date published: October 1, 2019
Status: Active

Analyses of contaminant effects in freshwater systems: synthesizing abiotic and biotic stream datasets for long-term ecological research

Fresh water is arguably the most valuable resource on the planet, but human activities threaten freshwater ecosystems. For example, use of synthetic chemicals, such as pesticides, road salts, and nutrients, has led to the ubiquitous contamination of aquatic systems, jeopardizing the integrity of ecological communities. Given the importance biodiversity plays in maintaining ecosystem health and...

Date published: August 13, 2019
Status: Active

Visualizing the Invisible: Causes, Consequences, Changes, and Management of Streamflow Depletion Across the U.S.

Streamflow is declining in many parts of the United States (US) due to factors including groundwater pumping, land use change, and climate change. Streamflow depletion, a reduction in groundwater discharge to a stream due to human activities such as pumping and/or land use change, tends to evolve slowly and can be entirely invisible for many years to decades. This is because streamflow...

Date published: October 1, 2018
Status: Active

Synthesizing Multiple Long-Term Datasets to Test Flow Ecology Relationships for Fishes - Workshop

River ecosystems support a wide diversity of biota, including thousands of fish species, which are variously adapted to the dynamic environments provided by flowing-water habitats. One of the primary ways that human activities diminish the biological capacity of rivers is by altering the natural hydrologic variability of river systems through regulation and diversion of streamflow for other...

Date published: June 5, 2018
Status: Active

Characterizing global variability in groundwater arsenic

Groundwater contaminated with naturally occurring arsenic is a widespread problem affecting many alluvial and deltaic aquifer systems throughout the world. The human health toll from consuming groundwater with high levels of arsenic is staggering in its proportions. Furthermore, the use of arsenic contaminated groundwater for irrigation is observed to result in diminished crop yields and thus...

Date published: June 5, 2018
Status: Active

Improved hydrologic forecasting through synthesis of critical storage components and timescales across watersheds worldwide

Models that predict the flow of rivers and streams are critically important for planning flood control, hydropower, and reservoir operations, as well as for management of fish and wildlife populations. As temperatures and precipitation regimes change globally, the need to improve and develop these models for a wider spatial coverage and higher spatial fidelity becomes more imperative....

Date published: October 1, 2017
Status: Active

A global synthesis of land-surface fluxes under natural and human-altered watersheds using the Budyko framework

Global hydroclimatic conditions have been significantly altered, over the past century, by anthropogenic influences that arise from warming global climate and also from local/regional anthropogenic disturbances. There has been never been an effort that has systematically analyzed how the spatio-temporal variability of land-surface fluxes vary in natural and human-altered watersheds globally....

Date published: August 25, 2017
Status: Active

Linking environmental and public health data to evaluate health effects of arsenic exposure from domestic and public supply wells

Everyone needs clean drinking water in order to thrive. The US EPA and public water purveyors in the US work together in adherence with the Safe Drinking Water Act to make water safe for public consumption. The recent media coverage of lead in public drinking water supplies in Flint, Michigan, and schools in many cities with aging infrastructure throughout the US has raised public awareness of...

Contacts: Joseph Ayotte
Date published: June 29, 2016
Status: Active

Integrating GRACE Satellite and Ground-based Estimates of Groundwater Storage Changes

Groundwater storage depletion is a critical issue for many of the major aquifers in the U.S., particularly during intense droughts. The GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites launched in 2002, with sensors designed to measure changes in the Earth’s gravitational field at large spatial scales (≥ ~200,000 km2). These changes are primarily driven by changes in water storage on...

Date published: June 29, 2016
Status: Active

Global Evaluation of the Impacts of Storms on freshwater Habitat and Structure of phytoplankton Assemblages (GEISHA)

Climate change is expected to cause more intense and frequent extreme weather events, but we only have a basic understanding of how these events might alter freshwater systems. Storms are likely to impact lake systems through delivery of sediments from watersheds and mixing of the water column, both of which could have important consequences for phytoplankton. Phytoplankton are the base of the...

Contacts: Vijay P Patil
Date published: June 29, 2016
Status: Active

Completing the dryland puzzle: creating a predictive framework for biological soil crust function and response to climate change

Drylands are integral to the Earth system and the present and future of human society. Drylands encompass more than 40% of the terrestrial landmass and support 34% of the world’s human population. Biocrusts are the “living skin” of Earth’s drylands, sometimes dominating the ground cover and figuring prominently in ecosystem structure and function. Biocrusts are a biological aggregate of...

Date published: August 19, 2015
Status: Active

River Corridor hot spots for biogeochemical processing: a continental scale synthesis

Rivers are the veins of the landscape, providing environmental benefits that are disproportionately high relative to their aerial extent; shedding flood waters, hosting aquatic ecosystems, transporting solutes and energy-rich materials, and storing and transforming pollutants into less harmful forms. From uplands to the coasts, rivers facilitate key biogeochemical reactions that cumulatively...