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Budget Justification

The National Water Quality Program (NWQP) supports the aspects of data collection, assessments, modeling, and research related to the quality of freshwater resources. Decision makers depend on information about what resources are available for various purposes, and whether the quality of those resources is sufficient to effectively manage the Nation’s water resources. 

Work conducted by the National Water Quality Program is designed to answer four basic questions regarding the quality of the Nation’s freshwater resources: 

  1. What is the quality of the Nation's streams and groundwater? 

  1. How is water quality changing over time? 

  1. How do natural factors and human activities affect the quality of streams and groundwater? 

  1. How will water quality change in response to future changes in climate and human activities? 

Program Overview 

To effectively manage the Nation’s water resources, decision makers depend on information about what resources are available for various purposes, and whether the quality of those resources is sufficient. National Water Quality Program (NWQP)  activities are focused on understanding the role that water quality plays in water availability. The long-term data, assessments, and models supported by the program are critical to sustaining the viability of industries such as agriculture, fishing, and outdoor recreation, and are used for decisions related to water-supply planning, aquifer storage and recovery, infrastructure design, floodplain and ecosystem management, energy development, and water dispute resolutions. The multi-scale prediction of water quality and availability of freshwater resources is met through integrated capabilities across multiple efforts in NWQP and the Water Availability and Use Science Program. These efforts include the computational framework for advanced models of quality and quantity, assessments of water availability within the context of competing demands, and research into water quality processes to identify and fill model gaps for more accurate predictions. 

Program Components 

Program Budget Information 

USGS Annual Federal Appropriations Budget provides documents such as Budget Justifications (Greenbook), press releases, funding tables, fact sheets, and more, organized by Fiscal Year (FY) along with a justification of program changes. The budget provides  additional  Cooperative Matching Funds (CMF) to partner with local, State, regional, and tribal agencies to monitor and assess water resources. 


Budget Process Overview

Each year, federal agencies formulate a budget for the following fiscal year based on guidance and input from the Executive Office of the President (which includes the Office of Management and Budget), and, for USGS, the Department of the Interior. Congressional budget justifications (for the USGS, this is known as the “Greenbook”) are submitted to Congress as the President’s Budget Request by law on the first Monday in February prior to the new fiscal year starting October 1. Following release of that Budget Request, agencies work to justify their budget and answer questions from Congress. Over the next 8 months, each chamber of Congress provides their proposed budgets, referred to as the House and Senate “Marks”. Based on these Marks, Congress works to negotiate a final bill that, once passed, goes to the President’s desk for signature. Once signed, the bill becomes law. The agencies are then required to produce an operating plan to justifies the funding appropriated by Congress. 

During the budget process, the USGS interacts with the Appropriations committees in each chamber. Specifically, the USGS falls under the jurisdiction of the Appropriations Subcommittee for Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies. For more information on these subcommittees, please visit the following websites: 

In addition to the Appropriations committees, the USGS receives questions from various Congressional stakeholders. These stakeholders, referred to as authorizing committees, have specific oversight responsibilities that include authorizing agency activities and providing guidance regarding appropriate levels of funding levels to carry out the authorized activities. The USGS resides in the House Committee on Natural Resources and the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources. However, the Water Resources Mission Area reports to a separate subcommittee than the rest of the USGS. For more information on these committees, please visit the following websites: 

A summary of the authorizations that are relevant to the NWQP can be found at the Authorizations page of this site.