Water Resources

How We Use Water

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National Water Census Data Portal

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Data Visualization of Water Use in the U.S. 2015

Data Visualization of Water Use in the U.S. 2015

Explore water use data by state and county for 2015

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Filter Total Items: 91
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Aquaculture Water Use

Aquaculture water use is water associated with raising organisms that live in water—such as finfish and shellfish—for food, restoration, conservation, or sport. Aquaculture production occurs under controlled feeding, sanitation, and harvesting procedures primarily in ponds, flowthrough raceways, and, to a lesser extent, cages, net pens, and closed-recirculation tanks.

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Pesticides

Pesticides are chemicals designed to kill pests, including insects (insecticides), weeds (herbicides), and fungi (fungicides). The USGS assesses the occurrence and behavior of pesticides in streams, lakes, and groundwater and the potential for pesticides to contaminate our drinking-water supplies or harm aquatic ecosystems.

Contacts: Lisa Nowell
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Mercury

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can affect the human nervous system. Eating fish contaminated with mercury can cause serious harm to people and wildlife.

Contacts: Mark E Brigham
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Water Quality After Wildfire

Wildfires are devastating and can lead to long-term changes to the landscape. With a significant amount of our Nation’s drinking water sources originating in forested watersheds, evaluating the effect fires have on water quality is incredibly important. The USGS works with other federal and state land managers to assess water-quality after wildfires in order to help protect one of our most...

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Metals and Other Trace Elements

Metals, metalloids, and radionuclides all are trace elements that occur naturally in the Earth's crust. In small quantities many trace elements are essential for health in all living organisms, but some trace elements can be toxic or cause cancer, and some can bioaccumulate. The USGS investigates where and how trace elements make their way into our Nation's surface water and groundwater.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Corrosivity

Corrosivity describes how aggressive water is at corroding pipes and fixtures. Corrosive water can cause lead and copper in pipes to leach into drinking water and can eventually cause leaks in plumbing.  Surface water and groundwater, both sources of drinking water, can potentially be corrosive.

Contacts: Ken Belitz
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Public Supply Wells

Are you among the more than 100 million people in the U.S. who relies on a public-supply well for your drinking water? Although the quality of finished drinking water from public water systems is regulated by the EPA, long-term protection and management of the raw groundwater tapped by public-supply wells requires an understanding of the occurrence of contaminants in this invisible, vital...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Domestic (Private) Supply Wells

More than 43 million people—about 15 percent of the U.S. population—rely on domestic (private) wells as their source of drinking water. The quality and safety of water from domestic wells are not regulated by the Federal Safe Drinking Water Act or, in most cases, by state laws. Instead, individual homeowners are responsible for maintaining their domestic well systems and for monitoring water...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Mine Drainage

As settlers traveled west and mined the American landscape, thousands of new mines were created over the centuries and then abandoned. Now, these long forgotten remnants of a bygone area still haunt us, as their operations left behind materials and rock exposures that can be easily eroded and carried downstream. The USGS helps track the sources of acidic mine drainage and helps land managers...

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Streamflow Alteration

Humans, just like aquatic organisms, need water.  Flood control, urban infrastructure, irrigation of agriculture, and myriad other ways we manage water affect the natural flow of streams and rivers.  How do the ways we manage land and water affect the natural patterns of streamflow that ecosystems depend on? 

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Radionuclides

Many people might be surprised to learn that drinking-water sources, especially groundwater, can contain radioactive elements (radionuclides). Radionuclides in water can be a concern for human health because several are toxic or carcinogenic. Other radionuclides are useful tools for determining the age of groundwater in an aquifer or of sediment deposited at the bottom of a water body.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Recreational Water Quality

People love to play in water. The USGS works to ensure that water in our nation’s streams, lakes, and oceans are suitable for the moments when you just need to jump in.

Attribution: Water Resources