Delaware River Basin Focus Area Study

Science Center Objects

As one of several National Focus Area Studies within the USGS National Water Census (NWC), the USGS completed a 3-year study of water availability and use in the Delaware River Basin.

National Water Census  •  Delaware River Basin  •  Process-Based Streamflow  •  Statistical Streamflow  •  Water Use  •  Ecological Flow

 

Map of the Delaware River Basin

Map of the Delaware River Basin

The Delaware River Basin covers 13,500 square miles in parts of four States, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Delaware. The population in the basin is approximately 7.3 million people. The basin has the largest interbasin withdrawal of water east of the Mississippi River and provides water to over 15 million people. After a history of litigation, many of the water management decisions on the river system are now coordinated through the interstate Delaware River Basin Commission (DRBC).

The National Water Census Focus Area Study in the Delaware Basin concentrated on providing information to stakeholders in the basin, and on contributing to science needs outlined in the DRBC water management strategy. Among the needs identified by over 60 stakeholder groups, including Federal, State, local, nongovernmental organizations, academics, and others was the importance of improving the integration of water-use and water supply data. Stakeholders also pointed out the need for a scientific approach to defining relations between streamflow processes and the responses of aquatic organisms in tributary streams. Finally, stakeholders recognized the usefulness of a hydrologic watershed model to evaluate water stressors such as growth of population centers, the effects of land-use change, and the effects of climate variability and change on water resources in the basin.

Incorporating this input from the stakeholders, the efforts of the Delaware River Basin Focus Area Study were organized under three topics:

 

National Water Census  •  Delaware River Basin  •  Process-Based Streamflow  •  Statistical Streamflow  •  Water Use  •  Ecological Flow