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.

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Filter Total Items: 162
Date published: May 11, 2017
Status: Completed

Henry Hagg Lake Water-Quality Model

Henry Hagg Lake is a reservoir located in the foothills of the eastern slope of the Coast Range Mountains of northwestern Oregon. The lake is used for recreation in the summer and flood control in the winter.

Contacts: Stewart Rounds
Date published: May 11, 2017
Status: Active

Tualatin River Basin Water Quality Assessment

In 1990, the USGS began assessing water-quality in the Tualatin River. Almost 30 years later, we are still monitoring conditions in the basin.

Contacts: Stewart Rounds
Date published: May 2, 2017
Status: Active

City Beavers: Tualatin River Basin Beaver Study

Beavers and their dams are common sights along creeks in the Tualatin River basin. Beaver help create diverse habitats for many other animals, including birds, fish, and amphibians. The USGS studying the affect beaver activity has on the amount and quality of water in local streams, so that agencies in the basin can make strategic management and habitat restoration decisions based on science...

Date published: May 1, 2017
Status: Active

GIS-based landscape analysis to identify sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals

A key component to assessing the contaminant exposure pathways in streams and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay is using GIS-based landscape analysis to identify sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharges are potentially major sources of EDCs to streams, and therefore understanding the de facto wastewater reuse (represented as...

Date published: April 11, 2017
Status: Active

Hydrogeologic and Geothermal Conditions of the Northwest Volcanic Aquifers

Although sparsely populated, this area in southeastern Oregon, northeastern California, northwestern Nevada, and southeastern Idaho has high geothermal heat flow that may be used to generate large amounts of electricity.

Date published: March 31, 2017
Status: Completed

Columbia River Contaminants and Habitat Characterization Study

Fish, wildlife, and human populations along the lower Columbia River are exposed to an ever-growing variety of contaminants as a result of increasing urbanization, industrialization, and agricultural development.

Date published: March 9, 2017
Status: Completed

Estimating Seepage Rates of Streams, Ponds, and Lakes at the Camas National Wildlife Refuge

The Camas National Wildlife Refugeprovides essential resting, feeding, and nesting habitat for waterfowl including migratory birds. A variety of other animals, large and small, are found there, too. Since the refuge was established in 1937, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been responsible for managing this vital resource.

Traditionally, Camas Creek and groundwater inflow...

Contacts: Gordon Rattray
Date published: March 9, 2017
Status: Active

Arizona Water Use

The Arizona Water Use program collects and estimates annual water withdrawals for the categories of irrigation, municipal, mining, thermoelectric-power, and drainage uses. The data for these categories are compiled for the Arizona Department of Water Resources groundwater basins outside of Active Management Areas. 

Contacts: Saeid Tadayon
Date published: February 22, 2017

Hurricane Matthew Information Portal

As Hurricane Matthew moved up the Atlantic coast of the U.S., the USGS South Atlantic Water Science Center (SAWSC) deployed most of the USGS Storm-Tide Network along the Atlantic coast to monitor the timing, extent, and magnitude of the storm tide during the passage of Hurricane Matthew.

• Go to the USGS Hurricane Matthew...

Date published: February 14, 2017

Water Education Posters

USGS Water Education Posters for Elementary and Middle Schools

Download posters covering nine different water topics that are drawn in a cartoon format. Activites are included and Elementary and Middle School versions are available.

Date published: February 9, 2017

Surface Water Data Program

Surface-water information is needed for purposes of surveillance, planning, design, hazard warning, operation, and management, in water-related fields such as water supply, hydroelectric power, flood control, irrigation, bridge and culvert design, wildlife management, pollution abatement, flood-plain management, and water resources development. 

Date published: February 2, 2017

Aquatic Experimental Laboratory (AXL)

Aquatic invertebrates are a key component of freshwater ecosystems, and an understanding of aquatic invertebrate taxonomy is central to freshwater science. The U.S. Geological Survey Aquatic Experimental Lab (AXL) at the Fort Collins Science Center has developed the North American Aquatic Macroinvertebrate Digital Reference Collection (NAAMDRC) to provide users with a graphic tool to aid in...

Contacts: David Walters, Ph.D., Robert E Zuellig, Ph.D., Boris Kondratieff
Filter Total Items: 14,140
Year Published: 2018

Assessment of dissolved-selenium concentrations and loads in the lower Gunnison River Basin, Colorado, as part of the Selenium Management Program, from 2011 to 2016

The Gunnison Basin Selenium Management Program implemented a water-quality monitoring network in 2011 in the lower Gunnison River Basin in Colorado. Selenium is a trace element that bioaccumulates in aquatic food chains and can cause reproductive failure, deformities, and other harmful effects. This report presents the percentile values of...

Henneberg, Mark F.
Henneberg, M.F., 2018, Assessment of dissolved-selenium concentrations and loads in the lower Gunnison River Basin, Colorado, as part of the Selenium Management Program, from 2011 to 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5001, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20185001.

Year Published: 2018

U.S. Geological Survey continuous monitoring workshop—Workshop summary report

Executive SummaryThe collection of high-frequency (in other words, “continuous”) water data has been made easier over the years because of advances in technologies to measure, transmit, store, and query large, temporally dense datasets. Commercially available, in-situ sensors and data-collection platforms—together with new techniques for data...

Sullivan, Daniel J.; Joiner, John K.; Caslow, Kerry A.; Landers, Mark N.; Pellerin, Brian A.; Rasmussen, Patrick P.; Sheets, Rodney A.
Sullivan, D.J., Joiner, J.K., Caslow, K.A., Landers, M.N., Pellerin, B.A., Rasmussen, P.P., and Sheets, R.A., 2018, U.S. Geological Survey continuous monitoring workshop—Workshop summary report: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1059, 29 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181059.

Year Published: 2018

Monitoring stream temperatures—A guide for non-specialists

Executive SummaryWater temperature influences most physical and biological processes in streams, and along with streamflows is a major driver of ecosystem processes. Collecting data to measure water temperature is therefore imperative, and relatively straightforward. Several protocols exist for collecting stream temperature data, but these are...

Heck, Michael P.; Schultz, Luke D.; Hockman-Wert, David; Dinger, Eric C.; Dunham, Jason B.
Heck, M.P., Schultz, L.D., Hockman-Wert, D., Dinger, E.C., and Dunham, J.B., 2018, Monitoring stream temperatures—A guide for non-specialists: U.S. Geological Survey Techniques and Methods, book 3, chap. A25, 76 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/tm3A25.

Year Published: 2018

Uranium concentrations in groundwater, northeastern Washington

A study of uranium in groundwater in northeastern Washington was conducted to make a preliminary assessment of naturally occurring uranium in groundwater relying on existing information and limited reconnaissance sampling. Naturally occurring uranium is associated with granitic and metasedimentary rocks, as well as younger sedimentary deposits,...

Kahle, Sue C.; Welch, Wendy B.; Tecca, Alison E.; Eliason, Devin M.
Kahle, S.C., Welch, W.B., Tecca, A.E., and Eliason, D.M., 2018, Uranium concentrations in groundwater, northeastern Washington: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3401, 1 sheet, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3401.

Year Published: 2018

Cyclic heliothermal behaviour of the shallow, hypersaline Lake Hayward, Western Australia

Lake Hayward is one of only about 30 hypersaline lakes worldwide that is meromictic and heliothermal and as such behaves as a natural salt gradient solar pond. Lake Hayward acts as a local groundwater sink, resulting in seasonally variable hypersaline lake water with total dissolved solids (TDS) in the upper layer (mixolimnion) ranging between 56 ...

Turner, Jeffrey V.; Rosen, Michael R.; Coshell, Lee; Woodbury, Robert J.
Attribution: Water Resources
Turner, J., Rosen, M.R., Coshell, L., and Woodbury, R.J., 2018, Cyclic heliothermal behaviour of the shallow, hypersaline Lake Hayward, Western Australia. Journal of Hydrology, 560, 495–511. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.03.056

Year Published: 2018

The Midwest Stream Quality Assessment—Influences of human activities on streams

Healthy streams and the fish and other organisms that live in them contribute to our quality of life. Extensive modification of the landscape in the Midwestern United States, however, has profoundly affected the condition of streams. Row crops and pavement have replaced grasslands and woodlands, streams have been straightened, and wetlands and...

Van Metre, Peter C.; Mahler, Barbara J.; Carlisle, Daren M.; Coles, James F.
Attribution: Water Resources
Van Metre, P.C., Mahler, B.J., Carlisle, Daren, and Coles, James, 2018, The Midwest Stream Quality Assessment—Influences of human activities on streams: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2017–3087, 6 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20173087.

Year Published: 2018

The influence of episodic shallow magma degassing on heat and chemical transport in volcanic hydrothermal systems

Springs at La Soufrière of Guadeloupe have been monitored for nearly four decades since the phreatic eruption and associated seismic activity in 1976. We conceptualize degassing vapor/gas mixtures as square‐wave sources of chloride and heat and apply a new semianalytic solution to demonstrate that chloride and heat pulses with the same timing and...

Chen, Kewei; Zhan, Hongbin; Burns, Erick; Ingebritsen, Steven E.; Agrinier, Pierre
Chen, K., Zhan, H., Burns, E. R., Ingebritsen, S. E., & Agrinier, P. (2018). The influence of episodic shallow magma degassing on heat and chemical transport in volcanic hydrothermal systems. Geophysical Research Letters, 45. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017GL076449

Year Published: 2018

Quality-control design for surface-water sampling in the National Water-Quality Network

The data-quality objectives for samples collected at surface-water sites in the National Water-Quality Network include estimating the extent to which contamination, matrix effects, and measurement variability affect interpretation of environmental conditions. Quality-control samples provide insight into how well the samples collected at surface-...

Riskin, Melissa L.; Reutter, David C.; Martin, Jeffrey D.; Mueller, David K.
Riskin, M.L., Reutter, D.C., Martin, J.D., and Mueller, D.K., 2018, Quality-control design for surface-water sampling in the National Water-Quality Network: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1018, 15 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181018.

Year Published: 2018

Water resources science of the U.S. Geological Survey in New York

The U.S. Geological Survey studies the effects of weather, climate, and man-made influences on groundwater levels, streamflow, and reservoir and lake levels, as well as on the ecological health of rivers, lakes, reservoirs, watersheds, estuaries, aquifers, soils, beaches, and wildlife. From these studies, the USGS produces high-quality, timely,...

Glover, Anna N.
U.S. Geological Survey, 2018, Water resources science of the U.S. Geological Survey in New York: U.S. Geological Survey General Information Product 185, 20 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/gip185.

Year Published: 2018

Effects of groundwater withdrawals from the Hurricane Fault zone on discharge of saline water from Pah Tempe Springs, Washington County, Utah

Pah Tempe Springs, located in Washington County, Utah, contribute about 95,000 tons of dissolved solids annually along a 1,500-foot gaining reach of the Virgin River. The river gains more than 10 cubic feet per second along the reach as thermal, saline springwater discharges from dozens of orifices located along the riverbed and above the river on...

Gardner, Philip M.
Gardner, P.M., 2018, Effects of groundwater withdrawals from the Hurricane Fault zone on discharge of saline water from Pah Tempe Springs, Washington County, Utah: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5040, 41 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185040.

Year Published: 2018

Effects of hillslope gully stabilization on erosion and sediment production in the Torreon Wash watershed, New Mexico, 2009–12

Sediment erosion and deposition in two sets of paired (treated and untreated) upland drainages in the Torreon Wash watershed, upper Rio Puerco Basin, New Mexico, were examined over a 3 1/2-year period from spring 2009 through fall 2012. The objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of shallow, loose-stone check dams, or “one-rock dams,” as a...

Matherne, Anne Marie; Tillery, Anne C.; Douglas-Mankin, Kyle R.
Matherne, A.M., Tillery, A.C., and Douglas-Mankin, K.R., 2018, Effects of hillslope gully stabilization on erosion and sediment production in the Torreon Wash watershed, New Mexico, 2009–12: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5026, 35 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185026.

Year Published: 2018

Methane in groundwater from a leaking gas well, Piceance Basin, Colorado, USA

Site-specific and regional analysis of time-series hydrologic and geochemical data collected from 15 monitoring wells in the Piceance Basin indicated that a leaking gas well contaminated shallow groundwater with thermogenic methane. The gas well was drilled in 1956 and plugged and abandoned in 1990. Chemical and isotopic data showed the...

McMahon, Peter B.; Thomas, Judith C.; Crawford, John T.; Dornblaser, Mark M.; Hunt, Andrew G.
McMahon, P.B., Thomas, J.C., Crawford, J.T., Dornblaser, M.M, Hunt, A.G., 2018. Methane in groundwater from a leaking gas well, Piceance Basin, Colorado, USA. Sci. Total Environ. 634, 791-801.

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: 954
scientific instruments and platform next to river surrounded by snow
December 31, 2017

USGS Streamgaging on the Pit River operates year round.

 USGS Streamgaging equipment and cableway on the Pit River near Canby, California operates year round.

Hampton Roads Benchmark Monitoring: R10-bipod.
December 31, 2017

R10-bipod.

Occupying a surveying benchmark.

 03146500 Licking River near Newark, log jam, safety
December 4, 2017

03146500 Licking River near Newark Log Jam

Some days, measurements just can't be made... This is 03146500 Licking River near Newark. Licking County Highway department works diligently to clear an 80' x 40' log jam that was putting pressure on bridge piers. Adverse conditions like those pictured above are the norm for a hydro tech. On this day, the risk of debris floating down and getting caught on either the hydro tech or equipment was...

high water measurement, floods
November 6, 2017

Biologist John Tertuliani making a high water measurement

Biologist, John T. makes a high water measurement at stream gage 03145484 Raccoon Creek near Granville, OH. High water measurements ensure accurate flood forecasting by NOAA for downstream citizens and property owners. These forecasts can help people prepare for the rising waters, help reduce property damages, and most importantly save lives. 

Jemez Falls
November 6, 2017

Jemez Falls

Jemez Falls located in the Jemez Mountains near Santa Fe, New Mexico

September 30, 2017

USGS Hurricane Preparedness

Before a hurricane, USGS Scientists undertake a data collection effort of a grand scale. They install a temporary mobile network of sensors along the coasts to collect additional data on the intensity of storm surge, one of the most dangerous elements of a hurricane. This effort provides critical information that allows various USGS partners and emergency responders to make better informed...

Lake Erie algal bloom
September 30, 2017

Lake Erie algal bloom

Landsat satellites captured this image of Lake Erie during a harmful algal bloom event.

A USGS hydrologic technician installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge on a bridge in Norfolk, Virginia.
September 30, 2017

A USGS hydrologic technician installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge

Jim Duda, USGS hydrologic technician, installs a Rapid-Deployment Gauge near the Elizabeth River in Norfolk, Virginia, to monitor elevated water levels caused by Hurricane Jose. An RDG is a fully functional streamgage designed to be quickly deployed for real-time data monitoring of a stream or river in emergency situations. RDGs are indispensable tools used for flood forecasting by augmenting...

September 30, 2017

Borehole Nuclear Magnetic Resonance for Environmental Site Management

Borehole nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is an emerging geophysical method being applied to hydrogeology investigations. NMR is a quantitative geophysical method that can be used to make in situ assessments of porosity, water content, mobile and immobile water fraction, and estimates of permeability. While borehole NMR is commonly used in the oil and gas industry, it is only recently that NMR...

Attribution: Water Resources
USGS scientists collect a sediment sample from Brownlee Reservoir
September 28, 2017

USGS scientists collect a sediment sample from Brownlee Reservoir

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey and Idaho Power Company collected water, sediment, and biological samples from Brownlee Reservoir as part of an ongoing, cooperative study of mercury cycling in the Hells Canyon complex of reservoirs along the Snake River bordering Idaho and Oregon. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality is also a partner in the study. 

Hydro techs from the New Mexico Water Science Center perform a well integrity test
September 19, 2017

Hydro Techs Perform Well Integrity Test

On September 19th, 2017 staff from the USGS NM WSC Albuquerque and Las Cruces offices visited a Climate Response Network (CRN) well just on the east side of the Organ Mountains outside of Las Cruces to receive training on integrity testing groundwater wells. What is integrity testing? Integrity testing involves adding a slug of clean water to a well and measuring how fast the water comes up...

Filter Total Items: 365
Date published: May 10, 2017

The Complex Dynamics of Geyser Eruptions

Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?

Date published: May 3, 2017

New Report Shows Some Private Wells in Connecticut Test High for Naturally Occurring Arsenic, Uranium

A report published today by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, reveals that water from some private wells across the state has registered high levels of Arsenic and Uranium.

Date published: April 30, 2017

USGS Measures Record Flooding in Missouri

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista.

Date published: April 27, 2017

Media Advisory: Helicopter to Fly Low Over Cedar Rapids for Groundwater Study

Starting on May 2 and lasting for about two days, a helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids as part of a groundwater survey.

Date published: April 24, 2017

2017 Snowmelt Runoff Signals Good News for Walker Lake but Raises Flooding Concerns Along Walker River

USGS model simulations suggest that Walker Lake will rise by as much as 15 to 18 feet this year, the most in a single year in recorded history.

Date published: April 14, 2017

Freshwater Ecosystems are an Important Part of the Alaskan Carbon Cycle

While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.

Date published: April 10, 2017

New “Water On-the-Go” App Helps Keep Texans Safe with Current Stream Conditions

The new “Water On-the-Go” mobile app gives the public easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. This product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey to help raise water awareness during both floods and normal conditions.

Date published: April 6, 2017

Wells Affect Water Flows in the Central Sands Region

Both irrigation wells and municipal wells affect flows in the Little Plover River near Plover, Wisconsin, stretches of which ran dry in past years, according to a new scientific report.

Date published: April 6, 2017

New Map Shows How Groundwater Pumping Could Affect the Malad River

A new report illustrates how groundwater pumping can affect the amount of water available in streams within the Malad-Lower Bear River Area in Utah. The product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights.

Date published: April 5, 2017

USGS Assessment of Brackish Water Could Help Nation Stretch Limited Freshwater Supplies

New USGS assessment provides fresh insights into nation’s brackish groundwater inventory

Date published: April 4, 2017

First-of-its-kind Interactive Map Brings Together 40 Years of Water-Quality Data

USGS provides a long-term look at changes in the quality of our nation’s rivers and streams

Date published: March 31, 2017

20 Years Researching Harmful Algal Blooms Supports Sustainable Water Supply in Wichita

Two decades of harmful algal bloom, nutrient and sediment research by the U.S. Geological Survey is helping to support Wichita’s long-term vision of a sustainable water supply into the future. Early warning indicators of harmful algal blooms have been developed for Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, according to a new USGS publication done in cooperation with the City of Wichita, Kansas.