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Water priorities for the nation—The U.S. Geological Survey next generation water observing system

September 18, 2019

The challenges of providing safe and sustainable water supplies for human and ecological uses and protecting lives and property during water emergencies are well recognized. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) plays an essential role in meeting these challenges through its observational networks and renowned water science and research activities (National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, 2018). Substantial advances in water science, together with emerging breakthroughs in technical and computational capabilities, have led the USGS to develop a Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS). The NGWOS will provide real-time data on water quantity and quality in more affordable and rapid ways than previously possible, and in more locations. The data will be served through a modernized USGS National Water Information System that will be coupled to advanced modeling tools to inform daily water operations, decision-making during water emergencies (like floods, droughts, and contaminant spills), assessments of past trends in water quantity and quality, and forecasts of future water availability.

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