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National Water Census

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Integrated Water Science (IWS) Basins

The U.S. Geological Survey is integrating its water science programs to better address the Nation’s greatest water resource challenges. At the heart of this effort are plans to intensively study at least 10 Integrated Water Science (IWS) basins — medium-sized watersheds (10,000-20,000 square miles) and underlying aquifers — over the next decade. The IWS basins will represent a wide range of...
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Integrated Water Science (IWS) Basins

The U.S. Geological Survey is integrating its water science programs to better address the Nation’s greatest water resource challenges. At the heart of this effort are plans to intensively study at least 10 Integrated Water Science (IWS) basins — medium-sized watersheds (10,000-20,000 square miles) and underlying aquifers — over the next decade. The IWS basins will represent a wide range of...
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Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs)

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.
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Integrated Water Availability Assessments (IWAAs)

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.
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Principal Aquifers of the United States

This website compiles USGS resources and data related to principal aquifers including Aquifer Basics, principal aquifers maps and GIS data, and the National Aquifer Code Reference List.
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Principal Aquifers of the United States

This website compiles USGS resources and data related to principal aquifers including Aquifer Basics, principal aquifers maps and GIS data, and the National Aquifer Code Reference List.
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Water Availability and Use Science Program: National Water Census

The USGS National Water Census (NWC) is designed to systematically provide information that will allow resource managers to assess the supply, use, and availability of the Nation’s water. The goal of the NWC is to provide nationally-consistent base layers of well-documented data that account for water availability and use nationally.
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Water Availability and Use Science Program: National Water Census

The USGS National Water Census (NWC) is designed to systematically provide information that will allow resource managers to assess the supply, use, and availability of the Nation’s water. The goal of the NWC is to provide nationally-consistent base layers of well-documented data that account for water availability and use nationally.
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Water Use in the United States

The USGS works in cooperation with local, State, and Federal agencies to collect water-use information, then compiles these data to produce water-use information aggregated at the county, state, and national levels. Every five years, data at the county level are compiled into a national water-use data system and State-level data are published in a national circular, Estimated Use of Water in the...
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Water Use in the United States

The USGS works in cooperation with local, State, and Federal agencies to collect water-use information, then compiles these data to produce water-use information aggregated at the county, state, and national levels. Every five years, data at the county level are compiled into a national water-use data system and State-level data are published in a national circular, Estimated Use of Water in the...
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Total Water Use

The USGS has estimated water use for the United States every 5 years since 1950. Estimates are provided for groundwater and surface-water sources, for fresh and saline water quality, and by sector or category of use. Estimates have been made at the State level since 1950, and at the county level since 1985. Water-use estimates by watershed were made from 1950 through 1995, first at the water...
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Total Water Use

The USGS has estimated water use for the United States every 5 years since 1950. Estimates are provided for groundwater and surface-water sources, for fresh and saline water quality, and by sector or category of use. Estimates have been made at the State level since 1950, and at the county level since 1985. Water-use estimates by watershed were made from 1950 through 1995, first at the water...
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Trends in Water Use

Total withdrawals for all categories of use in 2015 were estimated to be 322 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), a level of withdrawal not reported since before 1970. Total withdrawals in 2015 were 9 percent less than in 2010, continuing a sharp but steady downward trend since 2005. Freshwater withdrawals were also 9 percent less than in 2015.
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Trends in Water Use

Total withdrawals for all categories of use in 2015 were estimated to be 322 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), a level of withdrawal not reported since before 1970. Total withdrawals in 2015 were 9 percent less than in 2010, continuing a sharp but steady downward trend since 2005. Freshwater withdrawals were also 9 percent less than in 2015.
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Surface-Water Use

Surface-water sources include streams and rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and oceans. For the purposes of the USGS water-use reports, surface water with less than 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of dissolved solids is considered freshwater, and the remainder is considered saline.Surface-water resources are often evaluated by watershed. The most recent USGS water-use estimates by watershed are in...
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Surface-Water Use

Surface-water sources include streams and rivers, lakes and reservoirs, and oceans. For the purposes of the USGS water-use reports, surface water with less than 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L) of dissolved solids is considered freshwater, and the remainder is considered saline.Surface-water resources are often evaluated by watershed. The most recent USGS water-use estimates by watershed are in...
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Groundwater Use

Groundwater refers to all subsurface water, specifically that part of groundwater which is in the saturated zone. Groundwater sources are called aquifers: geologic formations that contain sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs. For the purposes of the USGS water-use reports, groundwater with less than 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L)...
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Groundwater Use

Groundwater refers to all subsurface water, specifically that part of groundwater which is in the saturated zone. Groundwater sources are called aquifers: geologic formations that contain sufficient saturated permeable material to yield significant quantities of water to wells and springs. For the purposes of the USGS water-use reports, groundwater with less than 1,000 milligrams per liter (mg/L)...
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National Water Census: Streamflow

The USGS National Water Census complements the USGS national network of more than 8,000 streamgages by estimating streamflow for ungaged locations throughout the country, by analyzing streamflow records, and by providing tools for analysis of streamgage data to end users. The USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) makes the actual streamgage data available to the public, most of it in "near...
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National Water Census: Streamflow

The USGS National Water Census complements the USGS national network of more than 8,000 streamgages by estimating streamflow for ungaged locations throughout the country, by analyzing streamflow records, and by providing tools for analysis of streamgage data to end users. The USGS National Water Information System (NWIS) makes the actual streamgage data available to the public, most of it in "near...
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National Water Census: Groundwater

The National Water Census (NWC) is leveraging a long history of groundwater studies and is accelerating ongoing regional studies to assess the Nation's groundwater reserves, studies that formerly were conducted under the USGS Groundwater Resources Program. The NWC is also increasing the ability to integrate groundwater and surface-water analyses into watershed-level assessments of water...
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National Water Census: Groundwater

The National Water Census (NWC) is leveraging a long history of groundwater studies and is accelerating ongoing regional studies to assess the Nation's groundwater reserves, studies that formerly were conducted under the USGS Groundwater Resources Program. The NWC is also increasing the ability to integrate groundwater and surface-water analyses into watershed-level assessments of water...
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National Water Census: Water Use

Through the National Water Census, USGS will provide more comprehensive reporting of national information on withdrawal, conveyance, consumptive use, and return flow by water-use category. Water-use data enables water managers to plan more strategically and enables the analysis of trends of over time. It is also vital to water-availability studies such as watershed and groundwater models.
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National Water Census: Water Use

Through the National Water Census, USGS will provide more comprehensive reporting of national information on withdrawal, conveyance, consumptive use, and return flow by water-use category. Water-use data enables water managers to plan more strategically and enables the analysis of trends of over time. It is also vital to water-availability studies such as watershed and groundwater models.
Learn More