International Water Resources Activities

Science Center Objects

USGS water-related projects of international interest.


A USGS Water Resources Assessment Team helped Afghanistan improve water-level and water-quality monitoring, assisted in the installation of a meteorological gaging network, assessed water-resources availability, assessed water management practices, developed a national water resources database, and helped start a water quality laboratory at the Afghan Geological Survey in collaboration with Afghan ministries, other federal agencies, and non-governmental organizations. Read more here.

Cape Verde

USGS helped evaluate groundwater availability and quality in watersheds on three islands (Fogo, Santo Antão, and São Nicolau), in cooperation with the Instituto Nacional de Gestão dos Recursos Hídricos (INGRH) and the Millennium Challenge Account. The study findings are being used by local water managers and the INGRH for future planning of sustainable groundwater development.


USGS is currently helping identify groundwater resources in the Somali Regional State of Ethiopia, in cooperation with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). Recent results from the ongoing study are described in a report for USAID: Groundwater Exploration and Assessment in the Eastern Lowlands and Associated Highlands of the Ogaden Basin Area, Eastern Ethiopia: Phase 1 Final Technical Report. Previous efforts helped the national groundwater assessment program in the use of standardized field forms and creation of a national groundwater database for storing, processing, and analyzing groundwater data. This database was provided for national use by Ethiopian agencies. Read more here.


USGS scientists have a long history of defining, implementing and installing and monitoring early warning systems (EWS) in communities of all scales, both domestically and internationally. The USGS implemented a network of 58 hydrologic monitoring systems with real-time warning capability in four Central American countries following the 1998 Hurricane Mitch disaster. In Haiti, USGS scientists have provided technical assistance as requested by the United National Development Program (UNDP) to help mitigate flood hazards in and around the town of Fond Verrettes, Haiti. USGS researchers/scientists assisted UNDP and Haitian counterparts in the design and installation of a EWS that consists of three rain gages equipped with satellite telemetry and a communications system for Fond Verrettes.

Horn of Africa

USGS is redesigning the Ethiopian National Groundwater Database and constructing a generic template of a Water Supply Database to store water well construction details and other information to be used by the Host Nation Government in the Horn of Africa. USGS also is providing data for development of the Combined Joint Task Force--Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) Water Resources Database for Djibouti, Ethiopia, and Kenya. The water resource database will store geologic maps, hydrogeologic maps, topographic maps, satellite images, vegetation maps, weather maps, documents, and other relevant hydrogeological data in a format that can be easily retrieved by users. The data will be delivered periodically via the interlibrary loan process that will allow NFESC to select the most appropriate maps and materials to be incorporated and used into the database.


The USGS is an active partner in the Climate Forecasting Systems (CFS) component of the Disaster Management Support Project, which is a collaborative effort of the Government of India Ministry of Home Affairs and USAID.  As a sub-project of the CFS, the Central Water Commission (CWC) of India, the India Meteorological Department, the USGS, and the U.S. National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration implemented a pilot flood forecasting and flood inundation modeling project for the Mahanadi River Basin, where devastating floods occur almost annually. 


Verne Schneider, Secretary, US National Committee to UNESCO’s International Hydrologic Program; re-creation of USNC; aiding/reviewing the creation of a US-led UNESCO-IHP Category II Center.


USGS collaborated with the U.S. Department of State and the Italian Ministry of Environment and Territory (IMET) in support of the Iraq Ministry of Water Resources (MoWR) and their goal of renovating the Iraq National Hydrologic Monitoring Network. The objective of this work was to enable the Iraqis to better manage their valuable water resources which in turn will result in an improved quality of life.


USGS partnered with the USAID and the Jordan Ministry of Water and Irrigation to improve groundwater monitoring systems and to assess trends in groundwater levels and groundwater salinity in Jordan’s aquifers. This information contributes to the scientific basis for management of groundwater resources as the government of Jordan seeks sustainable water-supply solutions. 


The USGS provided assistance to MCC to aid in ensuring the sustainable use of available water resources associated with the land/property rights project, notably regarding proposed wells in Mongolia. USGS provided technical assistance related to the potential environmental risks of proposed water resources development. 


Since 2007 USGS has provided assistance to MCC during the Implementation Planning for the Mozambique Compact proposal, focusing on issues related to ground- and surface-water resources. The USGS serves as a scientific advisor to MCC for review of scientific/technical documents and data related to surface- and ground-water resources as developed by the Government of Mozambique and/or MCC and their respective consultants/contractors. 


USGS and the Pakistan Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) and other Pakistani organizations involved in water resources assessment and management have been engaged in science and technology exchange since 2004. USGS has provided scientific and technical assistance to allow for strengthening of the capabilities of the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) with emphasis on the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources. The focus of the science and technology exchange has been on water resources assessments, creation of national, regional, and local water-quality laboratories, application of geographic information systems, organic analytical methods for pesticide analyses, creation of an integrated Pakistan water resources data warehouse, and creation of a Center of Excellence in Microbiology.


Water supply is lacking in most of the Horn of Africa. This water exploration project in the Darfur region conducted in 2006 and 2007 used innovative radar technology combined with other optical remote sensing technique and additional ancillary data to improve the potential for finding water supply in this drought and famine stricken area. The overall objective of this program was to improve support to decision-making for humanitarian assistance programs at USAID’s Office of Food for Peace, Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, local governments, and national and international NGOs.

United Arab Emirates (UAE)

Since 1988, the USGS has been partnering with the Abu Dhabi Emirate to collect information on the groundwater resources of the Emirate, to conduct research on the hydrology of the arid environment, to provide training in water-resources investigations, and to document the results of the cooperative work in scientific publications. Special projects included tree ring work, perchlorate, land-use change and microgravity.


Other Programs

Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change (GRAPHIC)

UNESCO-IHP initiated the project Groundwater Resources Assessment under the Pressures of Humanity and Climate Change (GRAPHIC). GRAPHIC addresses the role of ground water as a critical global resource and the paucity of research to understand how groundwater may be affected by climate change and linked human activities. USGS is involved because of its expertise in groundwater assessment, ongoing research on the impacts of climate change, and a leadership role in assessing the internationally recognized High Plains Aquifer which is arguably one of the most productive and heavily studied aquifer systems in the world.

Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management (ISARM) Program

The worldwide ISARM (Internationally Shared Aquifer Resources Management) Initiative is an UNESCO and International Association of Hydrogeologists (IAH) led multi-agency effort aimed at improving the understanding of scientific, socio-economic, legal, institutional and environmental issues related to the management of transboundary aquifers.