South Atlantic Water Science Center
A major element of the USGS mission is the documentation of the extent and magnitude of extreme hydrologic events, like floods and droughts. The South Atlantic Water Science Center is a leader in monitoring extreme water conditions, from droughts and falling groundwater levels to floods and storm-tide surges to water-quality problems.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has been collecting streamflow data in North Carolina for more than 100 years. In the Charlotte and Mecklenburg County area, a hydrologic data-collection network has been established to collect not only streamflow data but also rainfall data. In response to the floods of August 1995 and July 1997, the U.S. Geological Survey Cooperative Water Program and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Stormwater Services has expanded and enhanced this data-collection network.
Currently, the network consists of 72 raingages and 54 streamgages. It has grown over the last 20 years and evolved from a two-way polling landline system to a true real-time notification system using line-of-site radios and satellite telemetry.
► Go to the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hydrologic Network home page.
Contact the South Atlantic Water Science Center:
The South Atlantic Water Science Center - Georgia Office cooperates with the Georgia Geologic Survey in many hydrologic projects. A number of joint publications have been published over the years.
View the South Atlantic WSC topics about floods in Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
When rainfall is less than normal for several weeks, months, or years, the flow of streams and rivers declines, water levels in lakes and reservoirs fall, and the depth to water in wells increases. If dry weather persists and water-supply problems develop, the dry period can become a drought.
The South Atlantic Water Science Center conducts research and investigations related to topics such as groundwater and surface-water quality related to anthropogenic and agricultural activities, hydraulic and hydrologic modeling, tracking the movement of groundwater contamination, groundwater resource assessments and modeling, ecological assessments and response to urbanization, and estimating water-use for human and ecological needs. The research and investigations provide the scientific knowledge that engineers, planners and managers can used to make informed water-resources decisions.
In the mid-1990s, a new technology emerged in the field of inland streamflow monitoring. The South Atlantic Water Science Center is making great use of the acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). It was originally developed for oceanographic work, but was adapted for inland streamflow measurements. This instrument is transforming the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgaging program.
Hurricane Information for Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Preventing flood hazards, such as the hurricane induced storm surge, from becoming human disasters requires an understanding of the relative risks floods pose to specific communities and knowledge of the processes by which flood waters rise, converge, and abate. Historically, hurricane-induced storm tides have been documented through measurement of high-water marks left on structures or vegetation. However, these sources are not always reliable or accurate and do not provide quantitative information about the timing of the flooding, the sequencing of multiple paths by which the storm-surge waters arrived, or the magnitude of waves comprising floodwaters.
In response to these deficiencies, the U.S. Geological Survey – South Atlantic Water Science Center, in cooperation with various municipal, State, and Federal cooperators, uses four monitoring approaches for measuring the timing, magnitude, and duration of hurricane storm-surge dynamics. Two approaches utilize a fixed network of gage locations and two approaches utilize the temporary deployment of water-level sensors.
As one of several national “Focus Area Studies” in the Department of Interior’s WaterSMART initiative, USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center is undertaking a 3-year study of water availability and use to meet competing societal and ecological needs in Southeastern Atlantic Coastal Basins of the Carolinas. The Coastal Carolinas study area includes lower parts of the Pee Dee/Waccamaw River and Cape Fear River Basins extending from Georgetown, South Carolina up through the greater Wilmington, North Carolina area.
► Go to the Coastal Carolinas Focus Area Study Web site
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) South Atlantic Water Science Center streamgage program is part of the nationwide program that provides streamflow information for a variety of purposes—including the protection of life and property, infrastructure design, recreational usage, and long-term trend assessment.