Mission Areas

Water Resources

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Water is one of seven science mission areas of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Water's mission is to collect and disseminate reliable, impartial, and timely information that is needed to understand the Nation's water resources.

Read Science Plan
Filter Total Items: 186
Date published: February 2, 2018
Status: Active

Oregon Water Use Program

With the ever-increasing rate of utilization of and competition for water (particularly during periods of drought) accurate, current water-use information is of considerable value. This is particularly so in determining future water availability in hydrologically critical areas and for making sound resource-management decisions. For the Oregon Water Science Center, a viable water-use data-...

Contacts: Jonathan Haynes
Date published: January 23, 2018
Status: Active

SPARROW Model Assessments of Nutrients and Suspended Sediment in the Pacific Northwest and California

SPARROW can be used to relate water-quality data to landscape characteristics, such as natural properties and human activities

Contacts: Daniel R Wise
Date published: December 21, 2017
Status: Active

Malheur Lake Light Transmission Study

The Malheur National Wildlife Refuge provides habitat for a variety of highly valued ecosystem services, including shorebirds, waterfowl, and a diversity of other wildlife species. 

Contacts: Tamara Wood
Date published: December 20, 2017
Status: Active

Future Climate Effects on Columbia and Willamette River Levees

USGS research directly helps local public agencies that are responsible for the design and maintenance of the levees that surround the northern Portland metropolitan area with the goal of protecting life and property in the event of flooding from the Columbia and Willamette Rivers that surround the city.

Date published: December 20, 2017
Status: Active

Upper Klamath River Basin Forecasts

"Determining water availability in the Upper Klamath Basin has always had a degree of uncertainty as a result of the complex hydrology and geology in the region and limited streamflow data."

Contacts: John Risley
Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Spring Vulnerability Study for Southeastern Oregon

Evaluating Spring Vulnerability to Climate Change on BLM Priority Management Areas in Southeastern Oregon
 

Contacts: Hank Johnson
Date published: December 15, 2017
Status: Active

Harney Basin Groundwater Study

This study will characterize and quantify the groundwater system in the Harney Basin to address gaps in our present understanding.

Date published: December 12, 2017
Status: Active

Willamette River Basin Dissolved Gas Monitoring Network

USGS total dissolved gas (TDG) data help guide spill and discharge management from dams operated along tributaries of the Willamette River.

Date published: December 1, 2017
Status: Active

Sediment Fingerprinting in the Upper Klamath Basin

Sediment fingerprinting has been used successfully to identify land uses that are the major sources of sediment. This study will apply these techniques in a predominantly rural, volcanic landscape.

Contacts: Liam Schenk
Date published: November 30, 2017
Status: Active

Effects of Highway Runoff on Water Quality

"SELDM facilitates analysis by providing precipitation, pre-storm streamflow, and other variables by region or from hydrologically similar sites."

Date published: November 20, 2017
Status: Completed

Macroinvertebrate Communities Evaluated Before and After a Channel Restoration Project in Silver Creek, Blaine County

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Blaine County and The Nature Conservancy, evaluated the status of macroinvertebrate1 communities prior to and following a channel restoration project in Silver Creek, Blaine County, Idaho. The objective of the evaluation was to determine whether 2014 remediation efforts to restore natural channel conditions in an impounded area of Silver Creek...

Contacts: Dorene MacCoy
Date published: November 20, 2017
Status: Active

Water Quality in Aquifers Used for Drinking-Water Supplies, Gem County

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with Gem County and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, is assessing the quality of groundwater from freshwater aquifers used for drinking-water supplies.

Contacts: Erin M Murray

The USGS collects, analyzes, and distributes data on a wide variety of water-related issues and resources. Much of our data is publicly available through the National Water Information System (NWIS), but additional datasets and analytical tools are also available.

Access NWISWeb
Filter Total Items: 75
Date published: August 30, 2017

National Water Information System (NWIS) Mapper

The NWIS mapper provides access to over 1.5 million sites contained in the USGS National Water Information System (NWIS), including sites where current and historical surface-water, groundwater, springs, and atmospheric data has been collected. Users can search by site type, data type, site number, or place.

Date published: August 29, 2017

National Water Census Data Portal

The National Water Census Data Portal contains national estimates of water budget components for local watersheds, water withdrawal data for counties, tools to calculate statistics of daily streamflow records, modeled daily streamflow at ungaged stations, and access to records of aquatic biology observations.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: August 9, 2017

StreamStats for Virginia and the Nation

Interactively identify a watershed boundary and obtain detailed streamflow statistics.

For an introduction to StreamStats click HERE

 

Date published: June 21, 2017

North Dakota Ground Water Data

Data from wells, springs, test holes, tunnels, drains, and excavations in North Dakota; well location data includes information such as latitude and longitude, well depth, and aquifer. Groundwater level data are collected and stored as either discrete field-water-level measurements or as continuous time-series data from automated recorders.

Date published: May 22, 2017

Water use data for the South Atlantic Water Science Center (NWISWeb)

Water-use data are collected by area type (state, county, watershed, or aquifer) and source (rivers or groundwater), and category (such as public supply or irrigation). Water-use data has been reported every five years since 1950. The USGS works with local, State, and Federal agencies as well as other organizations to collect and report withdrawals.

...

Date published: March 24, 2017

USGS Sediment Data Portal

Identify, access, and interpret USGS discrete and (or) daily suspended sediment data suspended-sediment and related data. The U.S. Geological Survey National Water Information System (NWIS) is the original source for all suspended-sediment data provided in the portal.

Date published: February 2, 2017

North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC)

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) was created by the USGS Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) to provide users with high-quality digital microscopy photographs.

Date published: January 27, 2017

Lower Rio Puerco geospatial data, 1935 - 2014

A long-term study of the geomorphic history of the lower Rio Puerco arroyo in north-central New Mexico included the collection of high-precision (Real-time kinematic) GPS survey data (2002, 2007, 2010, and 2014), registration and rectification of historical aerial photographs (1935, 1950s, 1970s, and 1996), aerial LiDAR survey (2005) and post-flood (2006) satellite imagery.

Date published: January 17, 2017

Tracking the Source and Quantity of Nutrients to the Nation's Estuaries and Great Lakes

This tool provides access to information and maps of watershed nutrient contributions to the Nation's Estuaries and Great Lakes.

Date published: January 17, 2017

​Tracking Water Quality of the Nation's Rivers and Streams

An online graphical data tool provides annual summaries of nutrient and sediment concentrations and loads and streamflow information for 106 sites monitored as part of the USGS National Water-Quality Network for Streams and Rivers.

Date published: October 14, 2016

USGS Water Data Discovery

Are you looking for data for today, in the past, or what might happen in the future? Discover USGS Water Data resources here!

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: September 28, 2016

Water Quality Monitor Network In Ohio

Stream water-quality characteristics provide scientists and water managers with a better understanding of the effects of natural and anthropogenic (human) activities on streams and ecosystems. The USGS operates a network of near-real-time water-quality monitoring stations that provide data for temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity of surface water.

Filter Total Items: 15,167
Year Published: 2018

Streamflow contributions from tribal lands to major river basins of the United States

While many studies on tribal water resources of individual tribal lands in the United States (US) have been conducted, the importance of tribal water resources at a national scale has largely gone unrecognized because their combined totals have not been quantified. Thus, we sought to provide a numerical estimate of major water budget components on...

Blasch, Kyle; Hundt, Stephen; Wurster, Patrick; Sando, Thomas R.; Berthelote, Antony
Blasch K, Hundt S, Wurster P, Sando R, Berthelote A (2018) Streamflow contributions from tribal lands to major river basins of the United States. PLoS ONE 13(9): e0203872. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0203872

Year Published: 2018

Changes in Earth’s gravity reveal changes in groundwater storage

Changes in the amount of water stored in underground aquifers cause small changes in Earth’s gravitational field. The U.S. Geological Survey’s Southwest Gravity Program has developed methods for measuring terrestrial gravity changes with part-per-billion precision. The measurements allow scientists to map changes in groundwater storage and to...

Kennedy, Jeffrey R.
Kennedy, J.R., 2018, Changes in Earth’s gravity reveal changes in groundwater storage: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018–3032, 4 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183032.

Year Published: 2018

Selected trace-elements in alluvium and rocks, western Mojave Desert, southern California

Concentrations of twenty-seven elements, including naturally-occurring water-quality contaminants arsenic, chromium, and uranium, were measured in 217 samples of alluvium and rock from the western Mojave Desert, southern California, using portable (pXRF) and laboratory (LXRF) X-ray fluorescence. Comparison of measurements with NIST-traceable...

Groover, Krishangi D.; Izbicki, John A.
Groover, K.D., and Izbicki, J.A., 2018, Selected trace-elements in alluvium and rocks, western Mojave Desert, southern California: Journal of Geochemical Exploration, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gexplo.2018.09.005

Year Published: 2018

Methods used to reconstruct historical daily streamflows in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York, water years 1922–2010

A study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, to reconstruct streamflows for use in the RiverWare model. Methods and data used to estimate daily reconstructed streamflows at 53 sites in selected subbasins in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York are presented...

Hickman, R. Edward; McHugh, Amy R.
Hickman, R.E., and McHugh, A.R., 2018, Methods used to reconstruct historical daily streamflows in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York, water years 1922–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5068, 75 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185068.

Year Published: 2018

Multiphase flow and underpressured shale at the Bruce nuclear site, Ontario, Canada

Hydraulic testing has revealed dramatic underpressures in Paleozoic shales and carbonates at the Bruce nuclear site in Ontario. Although evidence from both laboratory and field studies suggests that a small amount of gas-phase methane could be present in the shale, previous studies examining causal linkages between the gas phase and the...

Plampin, Michael R.; Neuzil, Christopher E.
Plampin MR, Neuzil CE. Multiphase flow and underpressured shale at the Bruce nuclear site, Ontario, Canada. Geological Society, London, Special Publications. 2018 Sep 7;SP482.5.

Year Published: 2018

Tidal flushing of mercury from the Bremerton Naval Complex through the PSNS015 stormwater drain system to Sinclair Inlet, Kitsap County, Washington, 2011 -12

The sediments of Sinclair Inlet, in Puget Sound, Washington, have elevated levels of contaminants including mercury. The Bremerton Naval Complex is adjacent to Sinclair Inlet, and has known areas of historical soil mercury contamination. The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the U.S. Navy, has been investigating the potential for mercury...

Conn, Kathleen E.; Paulson, Anthony J.; Dinicola, Richard S.; DeWild, John F.
Conn, K.E., Paulson, A.J., Dinicola, R.S., and DeWild, J.F., 2018, Tidal flushing of mercury from the Bremerton Naval Complex through the PSNS015 stormwater drain system to Sinclair Inlet, Kitsap County, Washington, 2011 -12: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5087, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185087.

Year Published: 2018

Leveraging big data towards functionally-based, catchment scale restoration prioritization

The persistence of freshwater degradation has necessitated the growth of an expansive stream and wetland restoration industry, yet restoration prioritization at broad spatial extents is still limited and ad-hoc restoration prevails. The River Basin Restoration Prioritization tool has been developed to incorporate vetted, distributed data models...

Lovette, John P.; Duncan, Jonathan M.; Smart, Lindsey S.; Fay, John P.; Urban, Dean L.; Daly, Nancy; Blackwell, Jamie; Hoos, Anne B.; García, Ana María; Band, Lawrence E.
Lovette, J.P., Duncan, J.M., Smart, L.S. et al. Environmental Management (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00267-018-1100-z

Year Published: 2018

High-water marks from Hurricane Sandy for coastal areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, October 2012

Because coastal areas in Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts were heavily affected by Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), under a mission agreement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, collected storm tide high-water marks in those coastal areas. This effort was undertaken to better understand the...

Ostiguy, Lance J.; Sargent, Timothy C.; Izbicki, Brittney J.; Bent, Gardner C.
Ostiguy, L.J., Sargent, T.C., Izbicki, B.J., and Bent, G.C., 2018, High-water marks from Hurricane Sandy for coastal areas of Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, October 2012: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1094, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1094.

Year Published: 2018

Documentation of single-well aquifer tests and integrated borehole analyses, Pahute Mesa and Vicinity, Nevada

Single-well aquifer testing has been carried out at Pahute Mesa in southern Nevada since 1962. These tests include single-well pumping and slug tests to estimate geologic formation hydraulic properties. Initially, aquifer tests focused on identifying low-permeability rocks suitable for testing large-yield nuclear devices, whereas later hydrologic...

Frus, Rebecca J.; Halford, Keith J.
Frus, R.J., and Halford, K.J., 2018, Documentation of single-well aquifer tests and integrated borehole analyses, Pahute Mesa and Vicinity, Nevada: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5096, 22 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185096.

Year Published: 2018

When oil and water mix: Understanding the environmental impacts of shale development

Development of shale gas and tight oil, or unconventional oil and gas (UOG), has dramatically increased domestic energy production in the U.S. UOG resources are typically developed through the use of hydraulic fracturing, which creates high-permeability flow paths into large volumes of tight rocks to provide a means for hydrocarbons to move to a...

Soeder, Daniel J.; Kent, Douglas B.
Soeder, D.J., and Kent, D.B., 2018, When oil and water mix: Understanding the environtmental impacts of shale development: GSA Today, v. 28, https://doi.org/10.1130/GSATG361A.1.

Year Published: 2018

Thresholds and relations for soil‐hydraulic and soil‐physical properties as a function of burn severity 4 years after the 2011 Las Conchas Fire, New Mexico, USA

Wildfire effects on soil‐physical and ‐hydraulic properties as a function of burn severity are poorly characterized, especially several years after wildfire. A stratified random sampling approach was used in 2015 to sample seven sites representing a spectrum of remotely sensed burn severity in the area impacted by the 2011 Las Conchas Fire in New...

Ebel, Brian A.; Romero, Orlando C.; Martin, Deborah
Ebel, B.A., Romero, O.C., and Martin, D.A., 2018, Thresholds and relations for soil-hydraulic and soil-physical properties as a function of burn severity four years after the 2011 Las Conchas Fire, New Mexico, USA: Hydrological Processes, v. 32, p. 2263-2278, doi: 10.1002/hyp.13167.

Year Published: 2018

Contaminants of emerging concern in urban stormwater: Spatiotemporal patterns and removal by iron-enhanced sand filters (IESFs)

Numerous contaminants of emerging concern (CECs) typically occur in urban rivers. Wastewater effluents are a major source of many CECs. Urban runoff (stormwater) is a major urban water budget component and may constitute another major CEC pathway. Yet, stormwater-based CEC field studies are rare. This research...

Fairbairn, David J.; Elliott, Sarah M.; Kiesling, Richard L.; Schoenfuss, Heiko L.; Ferrey, Mark L.; Westerhoff, Benjamin J.
Fairbairn, D.J., Elliott, S.M., Kiesling, R.L., Schoenfuss, H.L., Ferrey, M.L., Westerhoff, B.M., 2018, Contaminants of emerging concern in urban stormwater: Spatiotemporal patterns and removal by iron-enhanced sand filters (IESFs). Water Research 145: 332-45. doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2018.08.020.

The USGS produces many types of multimedia products. Use the links below to browse our offerings of photograph galleries, podcasts and sound files, videos, aerial photos, and posters related to water. The USGS Newsroom has a Web page that highlights the main collection of multimedia products.

Filter Total Items: 1,239
StreamStats application screenshot
December 31, 2018

StreamStats application screenshot

StreamStats application screenshot

Attribution: Water Resources
Water Census Streamflow button
December 31, 2018

Water Census Streamflow button

Water Census Streamflow button

Attribution: Water Resources
Irrigation water use withdrawals in 2015
December 31, 2018

Irrigation water use withdrawals in 2015

Irrigation water use withdrawals in 2015

Total Saline Groundwater Use, 2010
December 31, 2018

Total Saline Groundwater Use, 2010

Total Saline Groundwater Use, 2010

PROSPER in StreamStats screenshot
December 31, 2018

PROSPER in StreamStats screenshot

PROSPER in StreamStats screenshot

Attribution: Water Resources
Water census focal area studies button
December 31, 2018

Water census focal area studies button

Water census focal area studies button

Attribution: Water Resources
Groundwater Desalination Facilities
December 31, 2018

Groundwater Desalination Facilities

Groundwater Desalination Facilities. Source: Mickley & Associates, written commun., 2013. Survey of municipal desalination plants.

Total water use withdrawals in 2015
December 31, 2018

Total water use withdrawals in 2015

Total water use withdrawals in 2015

Screenshot of raindrop trace in StreamStats
December 31, 2018

Raindrop trace in StreamStats screenshot

Screenshot of raindrop trace in StreamStats

Attribution: Water Resources
Artesian Well, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL
December 31, 2018

Artesian Well, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL

Artesian Well, John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park, Key Largo, FL

Attribution: Water Resources
Two oceanographers look at a coral core stored in a wooden box
October 18, 2018

Coral cores like this one reveal geologic history of Keys reefs

USGS Research Oceanographer Lauren Toth and Oceanographer Anastasios Stathakopoulos study a coral-reef core in the USGS’s Core Archive in St. Petersburg, Florida. Photo: Dominique Gallery, USGS.

Map showing new Gulf of Mexico storm tide bracket network
October 10, 2018

New Gulf of Mexico network speeds USGS hurricane preparations

Each one these blue dots represents a site where a storm-tide sensor bracket has been installed for the Gulf of Mexico pre-defined network. There are currently 85 brackets in Florida, 6 in Alabama, 3 in Mississippi, 18 in Louisiana and 26 in Texas, for a total of 138 bracketed sites. (Not all brackets will be used in all storms.)

 

Filter Total Items: 376
Date published: September 27, 2017

Levels of Possible Human Carcinogen Declining in Most Wells in Tucson International Airport Superfund Site

Levels of a potential human carcinogen, 1,4-dioxane, have mostly declined in wells in the commercial and residential areas of the Tucson International Airport Area Superfund Site during 2002-2017, according to a new map published by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: September 26, 2017

Groundwater Modeling Software MODFLOW 6 Now Available

MODFLOW 6, the newest version of the world’s most widely used groundwater modeling software, is now available for download from the U.S. Geological Survey

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: September 22, 2017

USGS Tidal Network Monitoring Elevated Water Levels Off Hampton Roads

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Jose, visit the USGS Hurricane Jose page at https://www.usgs.gov/jose.

Date published: September 19, 2017

More than a dozen USGS Storm-Tide Sensors Deployed for Hurricane Jose

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Jose, visit the USGS Hurricane Jose page at https://www.usgs.gov/jose.

Date published: September 18, 2017

USGS field crews in Puerto Rico are preparing for Hurricane Maria

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Maria, visit the USGS Hurricane Maria page at https://www.usgs.gov/maria.

Date published: September 18, 2017

USGS to Conduct Dye Tracer and Aerial Mapping Surveys on Kootenai River

BONNERS FERRY, Idaho — From Sept. 24 through 29, scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey will conduct dye tracer and aerial mapping studies on northern Idaho’s Kootenai River. Data from the studies will support Idaho Department of Fish and Game and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho fisheries and river restoration projects.

Date published: September 13, 2017

Borehole Geophysical Logs Now Easily Accessible through new USGS Online Map

Digital borehole geophysical logs and related data files are now easily accessible through GeoLog Locator a new web-based, map view and retrieval tool developed by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: September 13, 2017

Throughout Hurricane Season, USGS Science is There Before, During, and After the Storm

When a major storm is on the horizon, the USGS uses its water monitoring, coastal change, mapping, and modeling expertise to help prepare for, respond to, and recover from hurricanes and tropical storms.

Date published: September 6, 2017

Groundwater Pumping, Precipitation Can Affect Lake Levels in Twin Cities

Both precipitation and groundwater withdrawals, among other factors, influence lake-water levels in the northeast Twin Cities metropolitan area, and the extent of these changes vary among lakes, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study.

Date published: September 5, 2017

USGS Installs Storm-Tide Sensors in Puerto Rico for Hurricane Irma

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Irma, visit the USGS Hurricane Irma page.

Date published: August 30, 2017

Science to Weather the Storm

To learn more about USGS’ role providing science to decision makers before, during and after Hurricane Harvey, visit the USGS Hurricane Harvey page.

Date published: August 30, 2017

USGS Response to Hurricane Harvey

The U.S. Geological Survey has deployed storm-tide sensors, forecast what coastal change to expect, and is ready to measure the extent of flooding likely to result from this powerful storm, Hurricane Harvey. Click HERE for more information.

Filter Total Items: 1,822