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How We Use Water

Find water science information and activities related to the different ways we use water.

Filter Total Items: 99

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...
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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...
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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 rocks.
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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 rocks.
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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-makers.
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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-makers.
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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.
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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.
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Water-Use Terminology

The following terms have been used in one or more of the water-use publications. The comparison of water-use categories over the history of these reports may also help clarify the use of some of the terms.
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Water-Use Terminology

The following terms have been used in one or more of the water-use publications. The comparison of water-use categories over the history of these reports may also help clarify the use of some of the terms.
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Flood Inundation Map (FIM) Libraries

The Flood Inundation Mapping Program focuses on developing flood inundation map libraries and helping communities pair those libraries with real-time stream data and National Weather Service flood forecasts to form a two-dimensional flood warning system. Together, these products can help communities estimate the extent of a flood and identify at-risk areas and resources in advance of floodwaters...
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Flood Inundation Map (FIM) Libraries

The Flood Inundation Mapping Program focuses on developing flood inundation map libraries and helping communities pair those libraries with real-time stream data and National Weather Service flood forecasts to form a two-dimensional flood warning system. Together, these products can help communities estimate the extent of a flood and identify at-risk areas and resources in advance of floodwaters...
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National Brackish Groundwater Assessment

All water naturally contains dissolved solids that can make it "brackish" or distastefully salty. The amount of freshwater for drinking-water, agricultural, industrial, and environmental needs has declined in many areas and has led to concerns about future availability. The USGS conducted a national assessment of brackish aquifers that could supplement or replace freshwater sources.
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National Brackish Groundwater Assessment

All water naturally contains dissolved solids that can make it "brackish" or distastefully salty. The amount of freshwater for drinking-water, agricultural, industrial, and environmental needs has declined in many areas and has led to concerns about future availability. The USGS conducted a national assessment of brackish aquifers that could supplement or replace freshwater sources.
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Urban Waters Federal Partnership—Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds (New York, N.Y.)

The Harlem and Bronx Rivers provide ecological and social resources in an intensively urban area. Connecting people to rivers requires clean water—the USGS is helping to assess the efficacy of green infrastructure to improve the quality of stormwater that flows into the rivers.
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Urban Waters Federal Partnership—Bronx and Harlem River Watersheds (New York, N.Y.)

The Harlem and Bronx Rivers provide ecological and social resources in an intensively urban area. Connecting people to rivers requires clean water—the USGS is helping to assess the efficacy of green infrastructure to improve the quality of stormwater that flows into the rivers.
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