Water Resources

How We Use Water

National Water Census Data Portal

National Water Census Data Portal

National estimates of water budget components and more

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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: 92
Date published: February 28, 2019
Status: Completed

Delaware River Basin Focus Area Study

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.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: February 28, 2019
Status: Active

Groundwater Quality—Current Conditions and Changes Through Time

Is groundwater the source of your drinking water? The USGS is assessing the quality of groundwater used for public supply using newly collected data along with existing water-quality data. Learn more about this invisible, vital resource so many of us depend on.

Contacts: Bruce Lindsey
Date published: February 28, 2019
Status: Active

Predicting Groundwater Quality in Unmonitored Areas

Groundwater provides nearly one-half of the Nation’s drinking water, and sustains the steady flow of streams and rivers and the ecological systems that depend on that flow.  Unless we drill a well, how can we know the quality of the groundwater below? Learn about how the USGS is using sophisticated techniques to predict groundwater quality and view national maps of groundwater quality.

Date published: February 28, 2019
Status: Completed

Factors Affecting Vulnerability of Public-Supply Wells to Contamination

More than 100 million people in the United States—about 35 percent of the population—receive their drinking water from public-supply wells. These systems can be vulnerable to contamination from naturally occurring constituents, such as radon, uranium and arsenic, and from commonly used manmade chemicals, such as fertilizers, pesticides, solvents, and gasoline hydrocarbons. Learn about the...

Contacts: Sandra Eberts
Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Active

Surface-Water Quality and Ecology

Research by the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project on water quality of rivers and streams covers a broad range of topics, from nonpoint pollution issues to vulnerability of aquatic ecosystems. Dive in and find out more about current water-quality conditions, how and where water quality is changing, and the latest information on pesticides, nutrients, and other contaminants...

Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Active

Estimated Annual Agricultural Pesticide Use

These tables, maps, and graphs provide estimates of U.S. agricultural pesticide use suitable for evaluating national and regional patterns and trends of annual pesticide use.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Active

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are chemicals that both vaporize into air and dissolve in water. VOCs are pervasive in daily life, because they’re used in industry, agriculture, transportation, and day-to-day activities around the home. Once released into groundwater, many VOCs are persistent and can migrate to drinking-water supply wells.

Contacts: Bruce Lindsey
Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Active

Linking Selenium Sources to Ecosystems: Mining

Environmental sources of selenium (Se) such as from organic-enriched sedimentary deposits are geologic in nature and thus can occur on regional scales. A constructed map of the global distribution of Se source rocks informs potential areas of reconnaissance for modeling of Se risk including the phosphate deposits of southeastern Idaho and the coals of Appalachia.

Contacts: Theresa Presser, Joseph P. Skorupa
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Active

Linking Selenium Sources to Ecosystems: Irrigation

Adverse effects of selenium (Se) on fish and waterfowl in wetlands receiving agricultural drainage occurred in the 1980s in the San Joaquin Valley of California. The identified mechanisms of Se enrichment helped resolve Se toxicity problems associated with irrigated agriculture in the arid West. Bioaccumulation of Se in ancient marine sediments is postulated as a primary pathway in source...

Contacts: Theresa Presser, Joseph P. Skorupa
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Active

Linking Selenium Sources to Ecosystems: Refining

The San Francisco Bay-Delta receives selenium (Se) internally from oil refineries and externally through riverine agricultural discharges. Predator species considered at risk from Se consume the estuary’s dominant bivalve, C. amurensis, an efficient bioaccumulator of Se. Modeling predicts site-specific ecological risk and derives a range of protective Se concentrations for use by decision-...

Contacts: Theresa Presser, Joseph P. Skorupa
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Completed

National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA): 1991-2012

In 1991, Congress established the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project to address where, when, why, and how the Nation's water quality has changed, or is likely to change in the future, in response to human activities and natural factors. This page discusses the first two decadal cycles of NAWQA research from 1991 through 2012.

Date published: February 27, 2019
Status: Active

Water-Use Terminology

The following terms have been used in one or more of the water-use publications. The ...