Mission Areas

Water Resources

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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.

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Filter Total Items: 294
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Domestic Water Use

Domestic water use includes indoor and outdoor uses at residences, and includes uses such as drinking, food preparation, bathing, washing clothes and dishes, flushing toilets, watering lawns and gardens, and maintaining pools. Domestic water use includes potable and non-potable water provided to households by a public water supplier (domestic deliveries) and self-supplied water use. Self-...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Irrigation Water Use

Irrigation water use includes water that is applied by an irrigation system to sustain plant growth in agricultural and horticultural practices. Irrigation also includes water that is used for pre-irrigation, frost protection, chemical application, weed control, field preparation, crop cooling, harvesting, dust suppression, and leaching salts from the root zone. Estimates of irrigation...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Thermoelectric Power Water Use

Water for thermoelectric power is used in the process of generating electricity with steam-driven turbine generators. Since 2000, thermoelectric-power withdrawals have been compiled by cooling-system type. Once-through cooling refers to cooling systems in which water is circulated through heat exchangers, and then returned to the source. Recirculating cooling refers to cooling systems in which...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Industrial Water Use

Industrial withdrawals provide water for such purposes as fabricating, processing, washing, diluting, cooling, or transporting a product; incorporating water into a product; or for sanitation needs within the manufacturing facility. Some industries that use large amounts of water produce such commodities as food, paper, chemicals, refined petroleum, or primary metals. Water for industrial use...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Mining Water Use

Mining water use is water used for the extraction of minerals that may be in the form of solids, such as coal, iron, sand, and gravel; liquids, such as crude petroleum; and gases, such as natural gas. The category includes quarrying, milling of mined materials, injection of water for secondary oil recovery or for unconventional oil and gas recovery (such as hydraulic fracturing), and other...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Livestock Water Use

Livestock water use is water associated with livestock watering, feedlots, dairy operations, and other on-farm needs. Livestock includes dairy cows and heifers, beef cattle and calves, sheep and lambs, goats, hogs and pigs, horses, and poultry. Other livestock water uses include cooling of facilities for the animals and products, dairy sanitation and wash down of facilities, animal waste-...

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Aquaculture Water Use

Aquaculture water use is water associated with raising organisms that live in water—such as finfish and shellfish—for food, restoration, conservation, or sport. Aquaculture production occurs under controlled feeding, sanitation, and harvesting procedures primarily in ponds, flowthrough raceways, and, to a lesser extent, cages, net pens, and closed-recirculation tanks.

Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Coal-Tar-Based Pavement Sealcoat, PAHs, and Environmental Health

Sealcoat is the black, viscous liquid applied to many asphalt parking lots, driveways, and playgrounds in North America to protect and enhance the appearance of the underlying asphalt. Coal-tar-based pavement sealcoat is a potent source of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) contamination in urban and suburban areas and a potential concern for human health and aquatic life.

Contacts: Barbara Mahler
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Pesticides

Pesticides are chemicals designed to kill pests, including insects (insecticides), weeds (herbicides), and fungi (fungicides). The USGS assesses the occurrence and behavior of pesticides in streams, lakes, and groundwater and the potential for pesticides to contaminate our drinking-water supplies or harm aquatic ecosystems.

Contacts: Lisa Nowell
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Mercury

Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that can affect the human nervous system. Eating fish contaminated with mercury can cause serious harm to people and wildlife.

Contacts: Mark E Brigham
Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Pathogens and Other Microorganisms

The USGS works to monitor and assess how disease-causing pathogens enter our water and help those who manage drinking and wastewater facilities prevent and treat these viruses, bacteria, algal toxins, and other microorganisms.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 1, 2019
Status: Active

Water Quality After Wildfire

Wildfires are devastating and can lead to long-term changes to the landscape. With a significant amount of our Nation’s drinking water sources originating in forested watersheds, evaluating the effect fires have on water quality is incredibly important. The USGS works with other federal and state land managers to assess water-quality after wildfires in order to help protect one of our most...

Attribution: Water Resources

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
Filter Total Items: 392
Date published: November 8, 2018

Patterns of Diel Variation in Nitrate Concentrations in the Potomac River

This data set includes nitrate concentration, water temperature, and discharge collected every 15 minutes during Dec. 2011 - Nov. 2013 from the USGS gage POTOMAC RIVER NEAR WASH, DC LITTLE FALLS PUMP STA (01646500). 

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: November 5, 2018

Data for Radium Mobility and the Age of Groundwater in Public-drinking-water Supplies from the Cambrian-Ordovician Aquifer System, North-Central USA

High radium (Ra) concentrations in potable portions of the Cambrian-Ordovician (C-O) aquifer system were investigated using water-quality data and environmental tracers (3H, 3Hetrit, SF6 , 14C and 4Herad) of groundwater age from 80 public-supply wells (PSWs). 

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: November 2, 2018

Groundwater-Quality Data from the National Water-Quality Assessment Project, January through December 2014 and Select Quality-Control Data from May 2012 through December 2014

Groundwater-quality data were collected from 559 wells as part of the National Water-Quality Assessment Project of the U.S. Geological Survey National Water-Quality Program from January through December 2014. 

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: October 30, 2018

Current Streamflow and Water-Quality Monitoring at Select Sites in the Animas and San Juan River Basins, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah

The USGS monitors current streamflow and water-quality conditions at various sites in the Animas and San Juan River Basins in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah, including areas below the Gold King Mine release area. These streamgages provide continuous data on streamflow and select water-quality constituents including specific conductance, water temperature, pH, and turbidity.

Date published: October 5, 2018

Increasing chloride in rivers of the conterminous U.S. and linkages to potential corrosivity and lead action level exceedances in drinking water

This study analyzed long-term trends (1992–2012) and the current status (2010–2015) of chloride, chloride-sulfate, and the Larson Ratio to investigate the short and long-term temporal variability in potential corrosivity of US streams and rivers.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: October 5, 2018

U.S. Geological Survey GAGES-II time series data from consistent sources of land use, water use, agriculture, timber activities, dam removals, and other historical anthropogenic influences

 This product is a series of ten datasets containing tabular data from historical time series sources for the 9,067 conterminous United States sites in the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Geospatial Attributes of Gages for Evaluating Streamflow II (GAGES-II) dataset. 

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: September 28, 2018

Regional Stream Quality Assessment Results Viewer

The Regional Stream Quality Assessment is a part of the National Water Quality Assessment project.  The Results Viewer allows the user to visualize the water quality factors assessed, including total nitrogen, total phosphorus, dissolved oxygen, pesticide toxicity, sediment contaminants, pyrethroid pesticides, riparian buffers, fine sediment, and fish and macroinvertebrate...

Date published: September 28, 2018

Regional Stream Quality Assessment: Data Downloader

The Regional Stream Quality Assessment (RSQA) is a part of the National Water Quality Assessment project.  The data downloader provides access to the water quality data that were assessed as a part of the RSQA study by region, state, and county.

Date published: September 26, 2018

Water Budgets Across the United States

In this data visualization, you can see how three major components of the water budget vary across the conterminous US. Precipitation is incoming rain and snow; evapotranspiration is outgoing evaporation from soil and water bodies and transpiration through plants; and runoff is excess water that makes its way to lakes and rivers through streams and spring discharges. 

Date published: September 21, 2018

Ancillary Data Related to Nutrients in the Chesapeake Bay—Data Supporting Structural Equation Modeling of Nutrient Loads

This data release provides ancillary data that describe potential nutrient sources and processes for total nitrogen (TN) and total phosphorus (TP) annual loads for 84 water-quality sites within the Chesapeake Bay. 

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: September 17, 2018

Natural Monthly Flow Estimates for the Conterminous United States, 1950-2015

This metadata record describes monthly estimates of natural stream flows for greater than 2.5 million stream reaches, defined by the National Hydrography Dataset (NHD) Version 2.0, in the conterminous United States for the period 1950-2015.

Date published: July 23, 2018

USGS Louisiana Publications

USGS Publications in Louisiana

Selected Publications

Online...

Filter Total Items: 15,398
Year Published: 2018

User guide for the Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator (MA SYE—version 2.0) computer program

This report is a user guide for the Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator (MA SYE) computer program (version 2.0). The MA SYE was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection to provide a planning-level decision-support tool designed to help decision makers estimate daily...

Granato, Gregory E.; Levin, Sara B.
Granato, G.E., and Levin, S.B., 2018, User guide for the Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator (MA SYE—version 2.0) computer program: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1169, 7 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181169.

Year Published: 2018

Methods used to estimate daily streamflow and water availability in the Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator version 2.0

The Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator is a decision support tool that provides estimates of daily unaltered streamflow, water-use-adjusted streamflow, and water availability for ungaged, user-defined basins in Massachusetts. Daily streamflow at the ungaged site is estimated for unaltered (no water use) and water-use scenarios. The...

Levin, Sara B. ; Granato, Gregory E.
Levin, S.B., and Granato, G.E., 2018, Methods used to estimate daily streamflow and water availability in the Massachusetts Sustainable-Yield Estimator version 2.0: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5146, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185146.

Year Published: 2018

Quantifying uncertainty in simulated streamflow and runoff from a continental-scale monthly water balance model

One important component of continental-scale hydrologic modeling is quantifying the level of uncertainty in long-term hydrologic simulations and providing a range of possible simulated streamflow and/or runoff values for gaged and ungaged locations. In this paper, uncertainty was quantified for simulated streamflow and runoff generated from a...

Bock, Andrew R.; Farmer, William H.; Hay, Lauren E.

Year Published: 2018

The Connecticut Streamflow and Sustainable Water Use Estimator—A decision-support tool to estimate water availability at ungaged stream locations in Connecticut

Freshwater streams in Connecticut are subject to many competing demands, including public water supply; agricultural, commercial, and industrial water use; and ecosystem and habitat needs. In recent years, drought has further stressed Connecticut’s water resources. To sustainably allocate and manage water resources among these competing uses,...

Levin, Sara B.; Olson, Scott A.; Nielsen, Martha G.; Granato, Gregory E.
Levin, S.B., Olson, S.A., Nielsen, M.G., and Granato, G.E., 2018, The Connecticut Streamflow and Sustainable Water Use Estimator—A decision-support tool to estimate water availability at ungaged stream locations in Connecticut: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5135, 34 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185135.

Year Published: 2018

User guide for the Connecticut Streamflow and Sustainable Water Use Estimator (CT SSWUE—version 1.0) computer program

This report is a user guide for the Connecticut Streamflow and Sustainable Water Use Estimator (CT SSWUE) computer program (version 1.0). The CT SSWUE was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to provide a planning-level decision-support tool designed to help...

Granato, Gregory E.; Levin, Sara B.
Granato, G.E., and Levin, S.B., 2018, User guide for the Connecticut Streamflow and Sustainable Water Use Estimator (CT SSWUE—version 1.0) computer program: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1163, 7 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181163.

Year Published: 2018

Geometric versus anemometric surface roughness for a shallow accumulating snowpack

When applied to a snow-covered surface, aerodynamic roughness length, z0, is typically considered as a static parameter within energy balance equations. However, field observations show that z0 changes spatially and temporally, and thus z0 incorporated as a dynamic parameter may greatly improve models. To evaluate methods...

Sanow, Jessica E.; Fassnacht, Steven R.; Kamin, David J.; Sexstone, Graham A.; Bauerle, William L.; Oprea, Iuliana

Year Published: 2018

Prioritization framework for ranking riverine ecosystem stressors using example sites from the Tualatin River Basin, Oregon

As human populations increase, so does their influence over the environment. Altered terrain, degraded water quality, and threatened or endangered species are all-too-common consequences of a growing anthropogenic influence on the landscape. To help manage these effects, researchers have developed new ways to characterize current environmental...

Sobieszczyk, Steven; Jones, Krista L.; Rounds, Stewart A.; Nilsen, Elena B.; Morace, Jennifer L.
Sobieszczyk, S., Jones, K.L., Rounds, S.A., Nilsen, E.B., and Morace, J.L., 2018, Prioritization framework for ranking riverine ecosystem stressors using example sites from the Tualatin River Basin, Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5153, 40 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185153.

Year Published: 2018

Filtering of cyclic period infiltration in a layered vadose zone: 1. Approximation of damping and time lags

Infiltration and downward percolation of water in the vadose zone are important processes that can define the availability of water resources. We present an approach that provides insight into how periodic infiltration forcings at the land surface filter in a layered vadose zone in terms of changes in the timing and magnitude of hydrologic...

Dickinson, Jesse E.; Ferre, T.P.A

Year Published: 2018

Hourly analyses of the large storms and atmospheric rivers that provide most of California's precipitation in only 10 to 100 hours per year

California is regularly impacted by floods and droughts, primarily as a result of too many or too few atmospheric rivers (ARs). This study analyzes a two-decade-long hourly precipitation dataset from 176 California weather stations and a 3-hourly AR chronology to report variations in rainfall events across California and their association with ARs...

Lamjiri, Maryam A.; Dettinger, Michael D.; Ralph, F. Martin; Oakley, Nina S.; Rutz, Jonathan J.
Attribution: Water Resources

Year Published: 2018

Contaminants of emerging concern in the environment: Where we have been and what does the future hold?

In 1962, Rachel Carson’s book Silent Spring alerted the nation to the dangers of manmade chemicals and indiscriminate use of pesticides. DDT was the culprit and its use threatened a variety of wildlife, including the national bird, bald eagles. In 1969, pressured by scientists and the public, the United States banned almost all uses of DDT;...

Battaglin, William A.; Kolpin, Dana W.; Furlong, Edward T.; Glassmeyer, Susan; Blackwell, Brett R.; Corsi, Steven; Meyer, Michael T.; Bradley, Paul M.
Battaglin, W.A., Koplin, D.W., Furlong, E.T., Glassmeyer, S., Blackwell, B., Corsi, S.R., Meyer, M. T., and Bradley, P.M., 2018, Contaminants of Emerging Concern in the Environment: Where We Have Been and What Does the Future Hold?: Water Resources IMPACT, vol. 20, no. 6, p. 8-11. https://www.awra.org/impact/

Year Published: 2018

Estimating metal concentrations with regression analysis and water-quality surrogates at nine sites on the Animas and San Juan Rivers, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah

The purpose of this report is to evaluate the use of site-specific regression models to estimate metal concentrations at nine U.S. Geological Survey streamflow-gaging stations on the Animas and San Juan Rivers in Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah. Downstream users could use these regression models to determine if metal concentrations are elevated and...

Mast, M. Alisa
Mast, M.A., 2018, Estimating metal concentrations with regression analysis and water-quality surrogates at nine sites on the Animas and San Juan Rivers, Colorado, New Mexico, and Utah: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5116, 68 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185116.

Year Published: 2018

Land subsidence along the California Aqueduct in west-central San Joaquin Valley, California, 2003–10

Extensive groundwater withdrawal from the unconsolidated deposits in the San Joaquin Valley caused widespread aquifer-system compaction and resultant land subsidence from 1926 to 1970—locally exceeding 8.5 meters. The importation of surface water beginning in the early 1950s through the Delta-Mendota Canal and in the early 1970s through the...

Sneed, Michelle; Brandt, Justin T.; Solt, Michael
Sneed, M., Brandt, J.T., and Solt, M., 2018, Land subsidence along the California Aqueduct in west-central San Joaquin Valley, California, 2003–10: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5144, 67 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185144.

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.

Filter Total Items: 1,396
Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2015
December 31, 2018

Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2015

Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2015

Upstream Network Trace in StreamStats screenshot
December 31, 2018

Upstream Network Trace in StreamStats screenshot

Upstream Network Trace in StreamStats screenshot

Attribution: Water Resources
Overview of Water Quality in Principal Aquifers
December 31, 2018

Overview of Water Quality in Principal Aquifers

Overview of Water Quality in Principal Aquifers

Artesian Well (cropped), John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL
December 31, 2018

Artesian Well (cropped), John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Lar

Artesian Well (cropped), John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL

Development of geothermal saline groundwater into a warm-spring spa.
December 31, 2018

Development of geothermal saline groundwater into a warm-spring spa.

Development of geothermal saline groundwater into a warm-spring spa.
(Source: State of Florida Department of Natural Resources. Special Publication No. 21, 1977)

A national map that shows by color estimated concentrations of atrazine in shallow groundwater underneath agricultural land.
December 31, 2018

Estimated concentrations of atrazine in shallow groundwater

This map shows estimated concentrations of atrazine in shallow groundwater beneath agricultural land. Atrazine use is one of the most important factors used to predict atrazine and deethylatrazine concentrations in groundwater (right). Within areas of high atrazine use, groundwater residence time, soil permeability, and other factors explain some of the differences in

...
Photo of a USGS streamgage covered in snow
December 4, 2018

USGS streamgage 06614800: MICHIGAN RIVER NEAR CAMERON PASS, CO

USGS streamgage 06614800 MICHIGAN RIVER NEAR CAMERON PASS, CO
Site information and data available online.

Attribution: Water Resources
Snow falls on USGS Hydrologist, Joe Nawikas, as he collects groundwater samples in Mammoth, California.
November 28, 2018

Collecting Groundwater Samples in Mammoth, CA

Snow falls on USGS Hydrologist, Joe Nawikas, as he collects groundwater samples in Mammoth, California.

Scientist writing on clipboard, with small seismometer on the ground and mountains in the background
November 16, 2018

Collecting geophysics data at Pinnacles National Park

Research Hydrologist Paul Hsieh collects seismic data during a groundwater study at Pinnacles National Park in California. The red seismometer on the ground measures ambient seismic noise, which includes microtremors induced by wind, ocean waves, and human activity. The seismic data collected can be used to estimate unconsolidated sediment thickness, map the bedrock

...
Attribution: Water Resources
USGS scientists collect sediment cores from Lake Powell
November 15, 2018

USGS scientists collect sediment cores from Lake Powell

USGS scientists collect sediment cores to examine the amount and distribution of metals within Lake Powell.  

Filter Total Items: 393
Date published: September 18, 2017

USGS to Conduct Dye Tracer and Aerial Mapping Surveys on Kootenai River

BONNERS FERRY, Idaho — From Sept. 24 through 29, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct dye tracer and aerial mapping studies on northern Idaho’s Kootenai River. Data from the studies will support Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho fisheries and river restoration projects.

Date published: September 13, 2017

Borehole Geophysical Logs Now Easily Accessible through new USGS Online Map

Digital borehole geophysical logs and related data files are now easily accessible through GeoLog Locator a new web-based, map view and retrieval tool developed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: September 13, 2017

Throughout Hurricane Season, USGS Science is There Before, During, and After the Storm

When a major storm is on the horizon, the USGS uses its water monitoring, coastal change, mapping, and modeling expertise to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Date published: September 6, 2017

Groundwater Pumping, Precipitation Can Affect Lake Levels in Twin Cities

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: September 5, 2017

USGS Installs Storm-Tide Sensors in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Irma

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Date published: August 30, 2017

Science to Weather the Storm

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page.

Date published: August 30, 2017

USGS Response to Hurricane Harvey

The U.S. Geological Survey has deployed storm-tide sensors, forecast what coastal change to expect, and is ready to measure the extent of flooding likely to result from this powerful storm, Hurricane Harvey. Click HERE for more information.

Date published: August 29, 2017

USGS Crews Measure Record Flooding in South-Central Texas

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista or Lynne Fahlquist. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of south-central Texas following intense rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Date published: August 29, 2017

USGS Crews Measure Record Flooding in South-Central Texas

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista or Lynne Fahlquist. 

U.S. Geological Survey field crews are measuring record flooding in parts of south-central Texas following intense rainfall from Tropical Storm Harvey.

Date published: August 25, 2017

USGS Prepares for Hurricane Harvey

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page.

Date published: August 25, 2017

USGS Installs Storm-tide Sensors along Texas Coast prior to Harvey’s Arrival

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page.

Date published: August 24, 2017

USGS Installs Storm-tide Sensors along Texas Coast prior to Harvey’s Arrival

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page.

Storm-tide sensors are being installed at key locations along the Texas Gulf Coast by the U.S. Geological Survey in advance of Hurricane Harvey.

Filter Total Items: 1,834