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Water

The USGS monitors and studies a wide range of water resources and water conditions, including streamflow, groundwater, water quality, and water use and availability.

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What is the USGS policy about coming onto private property to conduct research?

When conducting research on private property, United States Geological Survey (USGS) employees must comply with State and Tribal laws, including trespassing and privacy laws. USGS employees are required to obtain written permission from the landowner when conducting new research and must make the data available at the landowner's request.

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What is the USGS policy about coming onto private property to conduct research?

When conducting research on private property, United States Geological Survey (USGS) employees must comply with State and Tribal laws, including trespassing and privacy laws. USGS employees are required to obtain written permission from the landowner when conducting new research and must make the data available at the landowner's request.

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How much water is used by people in the United States?

Since 1950, the USGS has collected and analyzed water-use data for the United States and its Territories. That data is revised every 5 years.As of 2015, the United States uses 322 billion gallons of water per day (Bgal/day). The three largest water-use categories were irrigation (118 Bgal/day), thermoelectric power (133 Bgal/day), and public supply (39 Bgal/day), cumulatively accounting for 90...

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How much water is used by people in the United States?

Since 1950, the USGS has collected and analyzed water-use data for the United States and its Territories. That data is revised every 5 years.As of 2015, the United States uses 322 billion gallons of water per day (Bgal/day). The three largest water-use categories were irrigation (118 Bgal/day), thermoelectric power (133 Bgal/day), and public supply (39 Bgal/day), cumulatively accounting for 90...

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What is the Earth's "water cycle?"

The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water as it makes a circuit from the oceans to the atmosphere to the Earth and on again.Most of Earth's water is in the oceans. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Rising vapor cools and condenses into clouds. Cloud particles grow and...

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What is the Earth's "water cycle?"

The water cycle, also known as the hydrologic cycle, describes the continuous movement of water as it makes a circuit from the oceans to the atmosphere to the Earth and on again.Most of Earth's water is in the oceans. The sun, which drives the water cycle, heats water in the oceans. Some of it evaporates as vapor into the air. Rising vapor cools and condenses into clouds. Cloud particles grow and...

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How much natural water is there?

Earth is estimated to hold about 1,460,000,000 cubic kilometers of water. The breakdown of where all that water resides is estimated as follows:Oceans (saline) 1,419,120,000 cubic kilometersIce caps and glaciers (fresh) 31,244,000 cubic kilometersGroundwater (fresh and saline) 8,906,000 cubic kilometersStreams and lakes (fresh) 132,860 cubic kilometersLakes (saline) 116,800 cubic kilometersOther-...

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How much natural water is there?

Earth is estimated to hold about 1,460,000,000 cubic kilometers of water. The breakdown of where all that water resides is estimated as follows:Oceans (saline) 1,419,120,000 cubic kilometersIce caps and glaciers (fresh) 31,244,000 cubic kilometersGroundwater (fresh and saline) 8,906,000 cubic kilometersStreams and lakes (fresh) 132,860 cubic kilometersLakes (saline) 116,800 cubic kilometersOther-...

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Why is our porcelain sink stained brown?

The brown stain is from a large amount of iron in your water. It is closely related to simple rust that you see on metal, which is iron oxide. Your water probably comes from groundwater that filtered through rocks containing iron-rich minerals on its way to the well.Learn more: USGS Water Science School: Water Color USGS Drinking Water and Source Water Research

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Why is our porcelain sink stained brown?

The brown stain is from a large amount of iron in your water. It is closely related to simple rust that you see on metal, which is iron oxide. Your water probably comes from groundwater that filtered through rocks containing iron-rich minerals on its way to the well.Learn more: USGS Water Science School: Water Color USGS Drinking Water and Source Water Research

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Why does my drinking water look cloudy sometimes?

Once in a while you get a glass of water that looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds, it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might be under a bit of pressure. This causes gases (air)...

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Why does my drinking water look cloudy sometimes?

Once in a while you get a glass of water that looks cloudy; maybe milky is a better term. After a few seconds, it miraculously clears up! The cloudiness is due to tiny air bubbles in the water. Like any bubbles, the air rises to the top of the water and goes into the air, clearing up the water. The water in the pipes coming into your house might be under a bit of pressure. This causes gases (air)...

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Why does it take so long to rinse the soap off my hands? What are hard water and soft water?

Water is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, while hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. If you use soft water, the ions react with your soap to produce a residue that feels like it is hard to wash off. If you use hard water, you will have a harder time working the soap up into a lather. Hard water is prevalent in some parts of...

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Why does it take so long to rinse the soap off my hands? What are hard water and soft water?

Water is said to be soft if it has a low concentration of calcium and magnesium ions in it, while hard water has a high concentration of calcium and magnesium. If you use soft water, the ions react with your soap to produce a residue that feels like it is hard to wash off. If you use hard water, you will have a harder time working the soap up into a lather. Hard water is prevalent in some parts of...

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Where can I find information about my local drinking water supply?

The best way to learn about your local drinking water quality is to read the annual drinking water quality report/consumer confidence report that water suppliers now send out by July 1 of each year. The reports are often sent out with water bills, but they may be sent separately. The reports tell where drinking water comes from, what contaminants are in it, and at what levels.The U.S...

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Where can I find information about my local drinking water supply?

The best way to learn about your local drinking water quality is to read the annual drinking water quality report/consumer confidence report that water suppliers now send out by July 1 of each year. The reports are often sent out with water bills, but they may be sent separately. The reports tell where drinking water comes from, what contaminants are in it, and at what levels.The U.S...

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Where can I find information about bottled water?

Bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by individual states. For general information about bottled water, sources include the International Bottled Water Association and NSF International.

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Where can I find information about bottled water?

Bottled water is regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and by individual states. For general information about bottled water, sources include the International Bottled Water Association and NSF International.

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What can cause our water to have an earthy odor or to smell like rotten eggs?

Naturally-occurring organic compounds are created when plant material decays in lakes and reservoirs. Those organic compounds frequently cause musty, earthy odors, especially toward the end of summer. The odors can be objectionable, but generally are not harmful to health. However, odors can be caused by other constituents as well, so you might want to call your local Health Department and mention...

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What can cause our water to have an earthy odor or to smell like rotten eggs?

Naturally-occurring organic compounds are created when plant material decays in lakes and reservoirs. Those organic compounds frequently cause musty, earthy odors, especially toward the end of summer. The odors can be objectionable, but generally are not harmful to health. However, odors can be caused by other constituents as well, so you might want to call your local Health Department and mention...

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Does the use of pesticides affect our Nation's water quality?

Pesticide use in the United States has increased because not only must we supply our exploding population with food, but crops and food are also grown for export to other countries. The United States has become the largest producer of food products in the world, partly owing to our use of modern chemicals (pesticides) to control the insects, weeds, and other organisms that attack food crops. But...

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Does the use of pesticides affect our Nation's water quality?

Pesticide use in the United States has increased because not only must we supply our exploding population with food, but crops and food are also grown for export to other countries. The United States has become the largest producer of food products in the world, partly owing to our use of modern chemicals (pesticides) to control the insects, weeds, and other organisms that attack food crops. But...

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How is the salinity of Great Salt Lake measured?

The salinity of Great Salt Lake is measured by taking specific gravity and temperature measurements and comparing them to standardized values reported in a table. Specific gravity is measured in the field by testing a water sample with a device very similar to a battery or antifreeze tester.Learn more: Great Salt Lake, Utah

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How is the salinity of Great Salt Lake measured?

The salinity of Great Salt Lake is measured by taking specific gravity and temperature measurements and comparing them to standardized values reported in a table. Specific gravity is measured in the field by testing a water sample with a device very similar to a battery or antifreeze tester.Learn more: Great Salt Lake, Utah

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