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Water Resources Trend Assessments: State of the Science, Challenges, and Opportunities for Advancement

May 29, 2023

Water is vital to human life and healthy ecosystems. Here we outline the current state of national-scale water resources trend assessments, identify key gaps, and suggest advancements to better address critical issues related to changes in water resources that may threaten human development or the environment. Questions like, “Do we have less suitable drinking water now than we had 20 years ago?” or “Are flood events more common now than they were in the past?” prompted improvements in data, trend estimation methods, and modeling frameworks to track changes in, and better understand how land use and climate influence four water resources domains: surface and groundwater quantity and quality. However, continued advancement in trend assessments to better address issues related to changes in water availability is needed. Areas of need include more timely and efficient delivery of water resources trend results and improved capacity to estimate trends at unmonitored locations. Additional integration pieces include increased understanding of groundwater–surface water interactions, incorporation of both quantity and quality trends into water availability estimates, and the refinement of trend metrics to account for the competing needs of society and ecological integrity. Coupled with improved driver attribution studies, these components will better inform current and future water resources management.

Publication Year 2023
Title Water Resources Trend Assessments: State of the Science, Challenges, and Opportunities for Advancement
DOI 10.1111/1752-1688.13137
Authors Sarah M. Stackpoole, Gretchen P. Oelsner, Edward G. Stets, Jory Seth Hecht, Zachary Johnson, Anthony J. Tesoriero, Michelle A. Walvoord, Jeffrey G. Chanat, Krista A. Dunne, Phillip J. Goodling, Bruce D. Lindsey, Michael Meador, Sarah Spaulding
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of the American Water Resource Association (JAWRA)
Index ID 70244024
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization WMA - Earth System Processes Division