During the past 25 years, industry and government have made large financial investments in manufacturing, processing, and wastewater-treatment facilities to reduce the amount of contaminants being discharged. Although these investments have led to improved water quality across the Nation, concerns about the effects of nutrients, toxins, and pathogens on human health and that of ecological communities remain. To address the need for consistent and scientifically sound information for managing the Nation's water resources, the U.S. Geological Survey began the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program in 1991. This program is unique in that it integrates surface- and ground-water-quality monitoring with the study of aquatic ecosystems. The goals of the NAWQA program are to (1) describe current water-quality conditions for a large part of the Nation's freshwater streams and aquifers (water-bearing sediments and rocks), (2) describe how water quality is changing over time, and (3) increase our understanding of the natural and human factors that affect water quality (Leahy and others, 1990, Gilliom and others, 1995).
Assessing the quality of water in every location of the Nation would not be practical. Therefore, NAWQA investigations are conducted within 59 selected areas called study units (fig. 1). These study units encompass important river and aquifer systems in the United States and represent the diverse geographic, waterresource, land-use, and water-use characteristics of the Nation. The Delaware River Basin is one of 15 study units in which work began in 1996. Water-quality sampling in the study unit will begin in 1999. This fact sheet provides a brief overview of the NAWQA program, describes the Delaware River Basin study unit, identifies the major water-quality issues in the basin, and documents the plan of study that will be followed during the study-unit investigation.
|Title||Delaware River Basin|
|Authors||Jeffrey M. Fischer|
|Publication Subtype||USGS Numbered Series|
|Series Title||Fact Sheet|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|