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The USGS Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs) are a multi-extent, stakeholder driven, near real-time census and prediction of water availability for both human and ecological uses at regional and national extents.
The USGS Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs) will provide nationally consistent assessments of water available for human and ecological needs in the United States and identify factors that limit water availability or could lead to conflict. The IWAAs are designed to provide information to meet the goals of the National Water Census as established through the SECURE Water Act. These goals are to:
When fully implemented, the IWAAs will, at national and regional scales:
The national IWAAs is under development to provide a near-real-time census of water resources at the sub-watershed scale (tracts of 10,000–40,000 acres). When fully realized, the census will provide status, trends and forecasts of the amount of surface water and groundwater available to support various uses over spatial extents including individual watersheds, major hydrologic regions, and the Nation.
The National IWAAs water-availability map (currently offline for updates) is an evolving National Census integrating product showing daily estimates of natural water storage (water on the landscape such as standing water, snowpack, soil water, and shallow groundwater) for the conterminous United States. The IWAAs National map is the first product to visualize a current, quantitative view of water availability at the national scale.
As this National IWWAs census product evolves additional hydrologic parameters will be produced and other indicators of water availability will be included on this representation, as well as water availability predictions.
Models, tools, and supporting data developed for the national IWAAs will be augmented by more refined information from select regional studies and assessments to improve national IWAA water-availability models. The specific information needs of each regional IWAA will be informed by local hydrologic conditions and input from partners and stakeholders regarding information gaps and resource management needs. Work is underway in the Delaware and Upper Colorado River Basin and will begin in FY2022 in the Illinois River Basin. Regional IWAAs plans to intensively assess at least 10 basins—medium-sized (10,000-20,000 square miles) and underlying aquifers—over the next decade.
The USGS Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs) combine resources and knowledge gained from previous and ongoing USGS efforts such as Focus Area Studies; Regional Groundwater Availability Studies; and Water Use, Environmental Flows, and Streamflow estimation, in addition to utilizing and providing feedback to the National Water Model.
IWAAs will be supported by innovative data collection and delivery, incorporated, in part, through the Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS) programs, and by the integrated hydrologic cycle and water-quality modeling capacity developed by the USGS Integrated Water Prediction Program. For Regional IWAAs specifically, these three programs, with support from other USGS activities, will combine in an Integrated Water Science (IWS) Basin approach to provide the observations, understanding, predictions, and information delivery necessary for sound decision-making related to water availability management.
IWAAs also works through collaborative agreements with State and local partners with the support of Cooperative Matching Funds. In FY 2019, 10 projects were selected across the U.S. that will help to support development of National and Regional IWAAs. These projects will focus on improving the data, tools, and information stakeholders need to make water-resource management decisions.
Below are other USGS science efforts related to Integrated Water Availability Assessments.
Below are data or web applications associated with Integrated Water Availability Assessments.
How do we use water in the U.S.?
We all depend on water every day, ranging from the water from our faucets, to the food we eat, to much of the electricity we use. The U.S. and its territories used nearly 322 billion gallons of water per day in 2015. This would cover the continental U.S. in about two inches of water over the course of a year. The national breakdown of water withdrawals looks like this:
Below are multimedia items associated with Integrated Water Availability Assessments.
Below are publications associated with Integrated Water Availability Assessments.
The National Water Dashboard (NWD) is a mobile, interactive tool that provides real-time information on water levels, weather, and flood forecasts - all in one place on a computer, smartphone, or other mobile device. The NWD presents real-time stream, lake and reservoir, precipitation, and groundwater data from more than 13,500 USGS observation stations across the country.
The USGS has been monitoring stream temperature in the Delaware River Basin since 1901, and has amassed over 650,000 daily temperature measurements. This data visualization story explores temporal and locational patterns in stream temperature observations, and how spatial variability and data gaps add complexity to prediction efforts.
A majority of the water in the western U.S. comes from snowmelt, but changes in the timing, magnitude, and duration of snowmelt can alter water availability downstream. This data visualization story explores what changing snowmelt means for water in the West, and how new USGS efforts can advance snow science by modeling snowpack and snowmelt dynamics and linking these results to streamflow.
Water quality is essential for understanding water availability by providing insights into the drivers of change and possible availability constraints. Using data from eight monitoring organizations including the USGS, the Multisource Water-Quality Trends in the Delaware River Basin mapper shows changing water-quality trends from 2008-2018 in rivers and streams across the Delaware River Basin.
Changes in streamflow conditions can affect infrastructure, water supply, and ecosystems. The IWAAs Surface Water Flow Trends mapper provides access to information about long-term changes in low flows, mean flows, and peak flows. View national trends for the last 100, 75, or 50 years, or calculate trend values for a custom time period at an individual site.
The Delaware River supports thriving ecosystems and drinking water for 16 million people. How water is shared, and the quality of that water, has been the focus of decades of inter-state discussion, negotiation, and research. This data visualization story uses streamflow, salinity, and temperature to show how new USGS science and monitoring can inform water management in this age of cooperation.
Below are news stories associated with Integrated Water Availability Assessments.
On Dec. 18, 2019, the USGS Water Resources Mission Area released the National Integrated Water Availability Assessments concept map. This map shows...