Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
Water is one of seven science mission areas of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Water's mission is to collect and disseminate reliable, impartial, and timely information that is needed to understand the Nation's water resources.Read Science Plan
Emerging contaminants, or contaminants of emerging concern, can refer to many different kinds of chemicals, including medicines, personal care or household cleaning products, lawn care and agricultural products, among others. These chemicals make it into our Nation's lakes and rivers and have a detrimental affect on fish and other aquatic species. That have also been shown to...
Every day, millions of gallons of groundwater are pumped to supply drinking water for about 140 million people, almost one-half of the Nation’s population. Learn about the quality and availability of groundwater for drinking, where and why groundwater quality is degraded, and where groundwater quality is changing.
The Nation's rivers and streams are a priceless resource, but pollution from urban and agricultural areas pose a threat to our water quality. To understand the value of water quality, and to more effectively manage and protect the Nation's water resources, it's critical that we know the current status of water-quality conditions, and how and why those conditions have been changing over time....
Water and the chemicals it contains are constantly being exchanged between the land surface and the subsurface. Surface water seeps into the ground and recharges the underlying aquifer—groundwater discharges to the surface and supplies the stream with baseflow. USGS Integrated Watershed Studies assess these exchanges and their effect on surface-water and groundwater quality and quantity.
Groundwater is the largest source of fresh water on Earth - it's kind of a big deal. The USGS monitors, tests, and studies groundwater resources to assure one of our Nation's most precious resources remains viable for future generations.
Saltwater intrusion has occurred to some degree in many of the coastal aquifers of the United States. Since saltwater cannot be used to irrigate crops or be consumed by people, saltwater intrusion can be very problematic to coastal communities that rely on fresh groundwater supplies for the livelihood. The USGS studies how excessive groundwater pumping, sea level rise, and other factors...
Hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, is the process of injecting water, sand, and/or chemicals into a well to break up underground bedrock to free up oil or gas reserves. The USGS monitors the environmental impact of this practice across the country, from potential earthquakes to degraded groundwater quality.
More than 80 percent of known land subsidence in the U.S. is a consequence of groundwater use, and is an often overlooked environmental consequence of our land and water-use practices. Increasing land development threatens to exacerbate existing land-subsidence problems and initiate new ones. Subsidence detection and mapping done by the USGS is needed to understand and manage our current and...
The USGS Quality Systems Branch (QSB) represents the Water Mission Area’s commitment to generating environmental data of known quality. QSB produces water and sediment performance-assessment samples and data to provide the USGS laboratory users, USGS laboratories, and field personnel with quantitative performance information to assess data quality.
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...
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...
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.
The USGS collects, analyzes, and distributes data on a wide variety of water-related issues and resources. Much of our data is publicly available through the National Water Information System (NWIS), but additional datasets and analytical tools are also available.Access NWISWeb
This mapper provides results from the largest-ever assessment of water quality changes in the Nation's streams and rivers. More than 185 million water-quality records from over 600 Federal, State, Tribal, and local organizations were screened as part of this assessment.
Almost one-half of the U.S. population rely on groundwater for their water supply, and demand for groundwater for public supply, irrigation, and agriculture continues to increase. This mapper shows how concentrations of pesticides, nutrients, metals, and organic contaminants in groundwater are changing during decadal periods across the Nation.
The Watershed Regression for Pesticides (WARP) is an online tool that allows users to estimate pesticide concentrations for streams that have not been monitored. WARP models are developed using linear regression methods to establish quantitative linkages between measured pesticide concentrations and a variety of human-related and natural factors that affect pesticides in streams.
Environmental Data Discovery and Transformation (EnDDaT) accesses environmental data from a variety of data sources, compiles and processes the data, and performs common transformations. The result is that data from multiple sources is sorted into a single table that aids model development.
The Geo Data Portal (GDP) provides access to numerous datasets, including gridded data for climate and land use. Datasets can be subsetted or summarized before download using several algorithms, and these algorithms can also be applied to other datasets hosted elsewhere.
The Coastal Change Hazards Portal provides interactive access to coastal change science and data for our Nation’s coasts. Information and products are organized into three coastal change hazard themes: 1) extreme storms, 2) shoreline change, and 3) sea-level rise.
Hurricane Maria made landfall in Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, bringing with it a mix of high winds and extreme rainfall. Watch this map animate Hurricane Maria's path, the cumulative precipitation the storm dropped on the island, and the impact of rainfall on river gage height.
Hurricane Irma, the most intense hurricane observed in the Atlantic in the last decade, approached the west coast of Florida on September 10th, 2017. This map animates the hurricane's path, cumulative precipitation, and its impact on river gage height.
Contaminant baselines and sediment provenance along the Puget Sound Energy Transport Corridor, 2015
The transport of coal and oil can result in contaminated soil, water, and organisms from unintended releases. Trains carrying coal and crude oil regularly pass through Puget Sound, Washington, and an increase in the number of coal and oil trains is expected in the future. This study characterized levels of potentially toxic contaminants in...Takesue, Renee K.; Campbell, Pamela L.
Preface to historic and paleoflood analyses: New perspectives on climate, extreme flood risk, and the geomorphic effects of large floods
Paleofloods are flood events that occurred prior to instrumented records that are discerned from sedimentary evidence. Historic floods are flood events that predate the instrumented record that have been reconstructed based on evidence provided by historical sources. This special issue presents papers on historic and paleoflood analyses that...Davis, Lisa; Harden, Tessa M.; Muñoz, Samuel E.; Godaire, Jeanne E.; O'Connor, Jim E.
Chlorinated byproducts of neonicotinoids and their metabolites: An unrecognized human exposure potential?
We recently reported the initial discovery of neonicotinoid pesticides in drinking water and their potential for transformation through chlorination and alkaline hydrolysis during water treatment. The objectives of this research were: (1) to determine if neonicotinoid metabolites are relevant to drinking water exposure and (2) to identify the...Klarich Wong, Kathryn L.; Webb, Danielle T.; Nagorzanski, Matthew R.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Hladik, Michelle L.; Cwiertny, David M.; LeFevre, Gregory H.
Potential toxicity of complex mixtures in surface waters from a nationwide survey of United States streams: Identifying in vitro bioactivities and causative chemicals
While chemical analysis of contaminant mixtures remains an essential component of environmental monitoring, bioactivity-based assessments using in vitro systems increasingly play a role in the detection of biological effects. Historically, in vitro assessments focused on a few biological pathways, e.g., aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) or estrogen...Blackwell, Brett R.; Ankley, Gerald T.; Bradley, Paul M.; Houck, Keith A.; Makarov, Sergei S.; Medvedev, Alexander V.; Swintek, Joe; Villeneuve, Daniel L.
Characterization and occurrence of confined and unconfined aquifers in Quaternary sediments in the glaciated conterminous United States
The glacial aquifer system, which is a collection of aquifers within Quaternary sediments in the glaciated conterminous United States, is a principal aquifer that supplies groundwater that serves about 42 million people and accounts for about 5 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. This aquifer system (the area of maximum glacial advance)...Yager, Richard M.; Kauffman, Leon J.; Soller, David R.; Haj, Adel E.; Heisig, Paul M.; Buchwald, Cheryl A.; Westenbroek, Stephen, M.; Reddy, James E.
Changes in microbial communities and associated water and gas geochemistry across a sulfate gradient in coal beds: Powder River Basin, USA
Competition between microbial sulfate reduction and methanogenesis drives cycling of fossil carbon and generation of CH4 in sedimentary basins. However, little is understood about the fundamental relationship between subsurface aqueous geochemistry and microbiology that drives these processes. Here...Schweitzer, Hannah; Ritter, Daniel; McIntosh, Jennifer; Barnhart, Elliott; Cunningham, Alfred B.; Vinson, David; Orem, William H.; Fields, Matthew W.
Acidification impacts and goals for gauging recovery of Brook Trout populations and fish communities in streams of the Western Adirondack Mountains, New York, USA
Results from several long‐term monitoring programs in the western Adirondack Mountains, New York, indicate that acid–base chemistry of headwater streams has remained unchanged or improved only marginally since the 1990s. A paucity of quantitative fishery data, however, limits our understanding of the pre‐acidified communities as well as present‐...Baldigo, Barry; George, Scott; Lawrence, Gregory; Paul, Eric
Mixed-chemical exposure and predicted effects potential in wadeable southeastern USA streams
Complex chemical mixtures have been widely reported in larger streams but relatively little work has been done to characterize them and assess their potential effects in headwaterstreams. In 2014, the United States Geological Survey (USGS) sampled 54 Piedmont streams over ten weeks and measured 475 unique organic compounds...Bradley, Paul M.; Journey, Celeste A.; Berninger, Jason P.; Button, Daniel T.; Clark, Jimmy M.; Corsi, Steven R.; DeCicco, Laura A.; Hopkins, Kristina G.; Huffman, Bradley J.; Nakagaki, Naomi; Norman, Julia E.; Nowell, Lisa H.; Qi, Sharon L.; Van Metre, Peter C.; Waite, Ian R.
Linkages between hydrology and seasonal variations of nutrients and periphyton in a large oligotrophic subalpine lake
Periphyton is important to lake ecosystems, contributing to primary production, nutrient cycling, and benthic metabolism. Increases in periphyton growth in lakes can be indicative of changes in water quality, shifts in ecosystem structure, and increases in nutrient fluxes. In oligotrophic lakes, conservationists are interested in characterizing...Niswonger, Richard G.; Smith, David; Rosenberry, Donald O.; Sudeep Chandra; Naranjo, Ramon C.; Niswonger, Richard G.; Smith, David; Rosenberry, Donald O.; Chandra, Sudeep
Selected trace-elements in alluvium and rocks, western Mojave Desert, southern California
Concentrations of twenty-seven elements, including naturally-occurring water-quality contaminants arsenic, chromium, and uranium, were measured in 217 samples of alluvium and rock from the western Mojave Desert, southern California, using portable (pXRF) and laboratory (LXRF) X-ray fluorescence. Comparison of measurements with NIST-traceable...Groover, Krishangi D.; Izbicki, John A.
Effects of ferric sulfate and polyaluminum chloride coagulation enhanced treatment wetlands on Typha growth, soil and water chemistry
Land surface subsidence is a concern in many deltas worldwide as it contributes to water quality degradation, loss of fertile land and increased potential for levee failure. As a possible solution to these concerns, on-site coagulation enhanced treatment wetlands(CETWs), coagulation water treatment followed by wetland...Ling Liang, Yan; Kraus, Tamara E. C.; Silva, Lucas C. R.; Bachand, Philip A. M.; Bachand, Sandra M.; Doane, Timothy A.; Horwath, William R.
Hydrogeologic controls and geochemical indicators of groundwater movement in the Niles Cone and southern East Bay Plain groundwater subbasins, Alameda County, California
Beginning in the 1970s, Alameda County Water District began infiltrating imported water through ponds in repurposed gravel quarries at the Quarry Lakes Regional Park, in the Niles Cone groundwater subbasin, to recharge groundwater and to minimize intrusion of saline, San Francisco Bay water into freshwater aquifers. Hydraulic connection between...Teague, Nicholas F.; Izbicki, John A.; Borchers, Jim; Kulongoski, Justin T.; Jurgens, Bryant C.
Software and related material (data and documentation) are made available by the USGS to be used in the public interest and the advancement of science.
In 1977, the Congress of the United States recognized the need for uniform, current, and reliable information on water use and directed the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a National Water-Use Information Program (NWUIP) to complement the Survey's data on the availability and quality of the Nations water resources.
The USGS Groundwater Age Mixtures and Contaminant Trends Tool (GAMACTT) can be used to explore the effects of basic aquifer properties and well configurations on groundwater age mixtures in groundwater discharge and on contaminant trends from varying nonpoint-source contaminant input scenarios.
Exploration and Graphics for RivEr Trends (EGRET) is an R-package for the analysis of long-term changes in water quality and streamflow, including the water-quality method Weighted Regressions on Time, Discharge, and Season (WRTDS).
The U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS) Multi-Dimensional Surface-Water Modeling System (MD_SWMS) is a pre- and post-processing application for computational models of surface-water hydraulics.
The Fractured Rock Geophysical Toolbox Method Selection Tool (FRGT-MST) is an Excel-based tool for identification of geophysical methods most likely to be appropriate for project goals and site conditions.
GWM is a Groundwater Management Process for the U.S. Geological Survey modular three-dimensional groundwater model, MODFLOW.
SutraGUI is a graphical environment for setting up and executing 2D and 3D SUTRA runs, and for visualizing results from 2D SUTRA runs. It is compatible with SUTRA Version 2.2 and requires Argus Open Numerical Environments (Argus ONE) commercial software,
SEAWAT: A Computer Program for Simulation of Three-Dimensional Variable-Density Ground-Water Flow and Transport
SEAWAT is a combined version of MODFLOW and MT3DMS for simulation of variable-density groundwater flow and transport.
Surface-Water Routing (SWR) Process: A Program for Modeling Surface-Water Flow with the USGS Modular Groundwater Flow Model (MODFLOW)
The Surface-Water Routing (SWR) Process is used to accurately simulate stages, surface-water flows, and surface-water/groundwater interactions in areas where surface-water gradients are small and/or there is significant management of surface water.
The USGS produces many types of multimedia products. Use the links below to browse our offerings of photograph galleries, podcasts and sound files, videos, aerial photos, and posters related to water. The USGS Newsroom has a Web page that highlights the main collection of multimedia products.
Percentage Change in Population by State and Decade: 1980 - 1990 to 2000 - 2010. For information on confidentiality protection, nonsampling error, and definitions, see http://www.census.gov/prod/cen2010/doc/p194-171.pdf
The reliability of arsenic testing for drinking water in Minnesota depends on how and when well water samples are collected, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey and the Minnesota Department of Health study, which highlights ways to improve the accuracy of arsenic tests for private wells.
A new water-quality monitoring program, established by the U.S. Geological Survey, can provide scientists and managers with the best available data to help evaluate the health of Great Lakes ecosystems and improve water quality for recreation and commercial fishing.
One week ago, on January 23rd at 12:31 a.m. local time, Alaskans were rocked by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake, with an epicenter in the Gulf of Alaska, about 350 miles southwest of Anchorage, and about 175 miles southeast of Kodiak Island.
Salinity loads that originate from groundwater within the Upper Colorado River Basin have decreased from 1986-2011, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study done in cooperation with the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program.
At 12:32 am Alaska time on January 23, 2018, a magnitude 7.9 earthquake shook Alaska residents out of their beds and set off fears of a tsunami all down the West Coast. Fortunately, the tsunami was only a few inches in height, but within an hour of the earthquake in Alaska, waves of a different sort were hitting far away in Florida.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Piedmont and Blue Ridge crystalline-rock aquifers, which includes parts of 11 states across the contiguous United States, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
The U.S. Geological Survey is near the midpoint of a complex undertaking to survey the quality of the nation’s largest drinking-water resource.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Cambrian-Ordovician aquifer system, which includes parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Indiana, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Glacial aquifer system, which includes parts of 25 states across the northern contiguous United States, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.
Oxygen levels, dissolved minerals among factors responsible for high concentrations of radium in untreated water from aquifer that underlies six states