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The WAUSP supports research into the quantification of water-budget variables that affect the availability of water, the development of innovative tools resource managers can use in planning activities and works to improve our understanding on increasing demand and competition for limited water resources to ensure adequate water availability now and into the future.

Program Overview: 

The Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP) fulfills the goals established by Congress in the SECURE Water Act (Public Law 111-11, Section 9508) by investing in research and assessments that improve the Nation’s understanding of water availability. Specifically, the WAUSP supports the National Water Census (NWC), a USGS activity designed to systematically provide information that will allow resource managers to assess the quantity, quality, and use of the Nation’s water. The WAUSP focuses on conducting national and regional water availability assessments; developing methods to estimate water budgets; and evaluating trends in water availability. In addition, the WAUSP supports efforts to develop techniques to evaluate water availability, advance the models and infrastructure that support assessments, and deliver tools that resource managers can use to support resource planning. 

Major Program Components: 

National Water Census

Model Development, Infrastructure, and Information Delivery 

High-Impact Hydrologic Research 

  • Social and Economic Drivers 

  • Water Budget Research 

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 WAUSP can be found at the Authorizations page of this site.