National Water Census: Collaboration

Science Center Objects

Collaboration is a critical part of the USGS National Water Census. It not only helps direct USGS efforts towards assessments that are most useful for end users – such as other Federal, State, regional, local, and tribal resource managers, but it also ensures that information produced by the USGS can be aggregated and assimilated with other types of physical, social, economic, and environmental data that affect water availability and use.

Water Census  •  Streamflow  •  Groundwater  •  Water Use  •  Environmental Flows  •  Evapotranspiration  •  Focus Area Studies


The USGS receives guidance on National Water Census assessment needs and goals through the Advisory Committee on Water Information (ACWI). ACWI members represent 35 organizations from all levels of government (Federal, State, Tribal, and local), public interest groups, academia, private industry, and non-profit and professional organizations.The USGS has worked with the Sustainable Water Resources Roundtable in ACWI to convene a multi-organization ad hoc committee of stakeholders in water availability to make recommendations on the design, methods of presentation, and priorities of the National Water Census.

USGS works closely with State and local agencies, universities, and water-resource organizations to support, integrate and build on existing data germane to issues of water availability and use. Collaboration with NGO’s such as American Water Works Association, American Water Resources Association, Association of State Drinking Water Administrators, Delaware Basin Commission, National Ground Water Association, Western States Water Council, Interstate Council on Water Policy, and The Nature Conservancy are just a few that assist and advise USGS on water availability, use and ecological science topics. USGS also works closely with other Federal agencies to avoid duplication of efforts and ensure generated data is presented in a format useful for decision-making. Federal partners include Department of AgricultureDepartment of Energy, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Army Corps of Engineers, the Bureau of Reclamation, and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Examples of Collaboration in the National Water Census

  • Tackling the Energy-Water Nexus. The USGS works with the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) to improve the quality and usefulness of the water use data reported by power plants by developing models to estimate withdrawals and consumptive use, and assist in quality assurance procedures used by EIA.
  • The Science of Supply. In the Colorado River and Upper Rio Grande Basins, the USGS and Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) are working closely with the States to address water use information, including consumptive use derived from satellite imagery and evapotranspiration models, as part of Focus Area Study objectives and goals.
  • Decision Support for the Delaware. USGS work on ecological water science broadened the capabilities of an integrated decision support system used by the Delaware Basin Commission, allowing decision-makers to better understand and model the effects of alternative water management scenarios on habitat availability for key native species in the Delaware River.
  • Coordinating Crop ET Estimates. USGS and Reclamation each rely on high spatial and temporal resolution satellite data and remote sensing methods to produce actual evapotranspiration (ETa) data sets that are used in water use estimations, as well as water management activities.