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: 164
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 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
Date published: January 12, 2017
Status: Active

Oběh vody: The Water Cycle, Czech

Oběh vody: The Water Cycle

Co to je oběh vody?

Co to je oběh vody? Mohl bych si jednoduše odpovědět – je všude kolem mne ! Oběh vody znamená přítomnost a pohyb vody na Zemi, v Zemi i nad Zemí. Voda je stále v pohybu a neustále mění svoji formu, z kapalné do plynné či pevné, a naopak. Oběh vody existuje již po miliardy let a veškerý pozemský život je na něm závislý; Země by bez...

Date published: January 2, 2017
Status: Completed

Wood River Valley Hydrologic Trends and Comparisons

Wood River Valley residents rely on groundwater for domestic supply, either from domestic or municipal-supply wells. The rapid population growth since the 1970s has caused concern about the long-term sustainability of the groundwater resource.

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Effects of Nutrient Enrichment on Stream Ecosystems (Upper Snake River Basin NAWQA)

Nutrient enrichment can affect the ecological health of a stream. For example, excessive aquatic plant growth caused by increased nutrients can reduce dissolved oxygen necessary for other aquatic life. Topics of particular interest in this study area include:

seasonal patterns among nutrients, flows, algae and plants in streams

rooted aquatic plant vs. algae growth

stream...

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Debris-Flow Hazard Assessment of the Area Burned by the 2013 Beaver Creek Fire

In August 2013, the Beaver Creek wildfire burned more than 100,000 acres of public and private land northwest of Hailey, Idaho. According to the U.S. Forest Service, about 57 percent of the area is considered moderately burned, and the risk of post-fire soil erosion is high on more than 8,400 acres.

Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Surrogate Technologies for Estimating Suspended Sediment in the Snake and Clearwater Rivers

Because fluvial sediment poses both economic and ecological problems, resource managers need a safe, cost-effective way to measure sediment in streams, particularly in remote areas.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness

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: 73
Date published: September 26, 2001

Geological Survey of Alabama - Downloadable GIS datasets

Spatial/GIS data sets for Alabama are available numerous spatial data clearinghouses. Spatial/GIS data sets for USGS studies that include Alabama or include parts of Alabama are also available from USGS.

Downloadable GIS Datasets, OGB GIS Datasets, Digital Raster Graphics (DRG), 1:24000 DRG, 1:100000 DRG, 1:250000 DRG, Hazards GIS Data, Hazards Data Water GIS Data, HUC 11 Watersheds

Filter Total Items: 14,548
Year Published: 2018

A history of trade routes and water-level regulation on waterways in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota, USA

Unlike most national parks, main access to Voyageurs National Park is by boat. This remote system of interconnected waterways along the USA-Canada border was an important transportation route for thousands of years of American Indian occupation, leading up to and including the trade route of the voyageurs, or French-Canadian fur traders from...

Christensen, Victoria G.; LaBounty, Andrew E.
Christensen, V.G., and LaBounty, A.E., 2018, A History of Trade Routes and Water-Level Regulation on Waterways in Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota USA, Proceedings of the Environment and Water Resources Institute World Congress, American Society of Civil Engineers, Minneapolis, MN, June 4, 2018.

Year Published: 2018

GIS-based method for estimating surficial groundwater levels in coastal Virginia using limited information

In many coastal areas, high water tables are present, complicating installation of some stormwater best management practices (BMPs) that rely on infiltration. Regional estimates of the seasonal high water table (SHWT) often rely on sources such as soil surveys taken over a decade ago; these data are static and do not account for groundwater...

Johnson, R.D.; Sample, David J.; McCoy, Kurt J.

Year Published: 2018

Voyageurs National Park: Water-level regulation and effects on water quality and aquatic biology

Following dam installations in the remote Rainy Lake Basin during the early 1900s, water-level fluctuations were considered extreme (1914–1949) compared to more natural conditions. In 1949, the International Joint Commission (IJC), which sets rules governing dam operation on waters shared by the United States and Canada,...

Christensen, Victoria G.; Maki, Ryan P.; LeDuc, Jaime F.

Year Published: 2018

Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16

As questions regarding the influence of increasing urbanization on water quality in the Edwards aquifer are raised, a better understanding of the sources, fate, and transport of compounds of concern in the aquifer—in particular, nutrients and pesticides—is needed to improve water management decision-making capabilities. The U.S. Geological Survey...

Opsahl, Stephen P.; Musgrove, MaryLynn; Mahler, Barbara J.; Lambert, Rebecca B.
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060, 67 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185060.

Year Published: 2018

Water-table and potentiometric-surface altitudes in the upper glacial, Magothy, and Lloyd aquifers of Long Island, New York, April–May 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with State and local agencies, systematically collects groundwater data at varying measurement frequencies to monitor the hydrologic conditions on Long Island, New York. Each year during April and May, the U.S. Geological Survey completes a synoptic survey of water levels to define the spatial...

Como, Michael D.; Finkelstein, Jason S.; Rivera, Simonette L.; Monti, Jack; Busciolano, Ronald J.
Como, M.D., Finkelstein, J.S., Rivera, S.L., Monti, Jack, Jr., and Busciolano, Ronald, 2018, Water-table and potentiometric-surface altitudes in the upper glacial, Magothy, and Lloyd aquifers of Long Island, New York, April–May 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3398, 4 sheets, scale 1:125,000, 5-p. pamphlet, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3398.

Year Published: 2018

Agriculture — A river runs through it — The connections between agriculture and water quality

Sustaining the quality of the Nation’s water resources and the health of our diverse ecosystems depends on the availability of sound water-resources data and information to develop effective, science-based policies. Effective management of water resources also brings more certainty and efficiency to important economic sectors. Taken together,...

Capel, Paul D.; McCarthy, Kathleen A.; Coupe, Richard H.; Grey, Katia M.; Amenumey, Sheila E.; Baker, Nancy T.; Johnson, Richard L.
Attribution: Water Resources
Capel, P.D., McCarthy, K.A., Coupe, R.H., Grey, K.M., Amenumey, S.E., Baker, N.T., and Johnson, R.L., 2018, Agriculture — A River runs through it — The connections between agriculture and water quality: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1433, 201 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1433.

Year Published: 2018

Fish-habitat relationships along the estuarine gradient of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California: Implications for habitat restoration

Estuaries are highly variable environments where fish are subjected to a diverse suite of habitat features (e.g., water quality gradients, physical structure) that filter local assemblages from a broader, regional species pool. Tidal, climatological, and oceanographic phenomena drive water quality gradients and, ultimately, expose individuals to...

Young, Matthew; Feyrer, Frederick; Colombano, Denise D.; Conrad, J. Louise; Sih, Andrew
Young, M.J., Feyrer, F.V., Colombano, D.D., Conrad, J.L., and Sih, A., 2018, Fish-habitat relationships along the estuarine gradient of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California: Implications for habitat restoration. Estuaries and Coasts (ESCO). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12237-018-0417-4 . [First online: 06 June 2018]

Year Published: 2018

Minimum energy requirements for desalination of brackish groundwater in the United States with comparison to international datasets

This paper uses chemical and physical data from a large 2017 U.S. Geological Surveygroundwater dataset with wells in the U.S. and three smaller international groundwater datasets with wells primarily in Australia and Spain to carry out a comprehensive investigation of brackish groundwater composition in relation to minimum ...

Ahdab, Yvana D.; Thiel, Gregory P.; Böhlke, John Karl; Stanton, Jennifer S.; Lienhard, John H.
Ahdab, Yvana D., Thiel, Gregory P., Böhlke, J. K., Stanton, Jennifer, and Lienhard, John H., 2018, Minimum energy requirements for desalination of brackish groundwater in the United States with comparison to international datasets. Water Research, v. 141, p. 387-404. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2018.04.015

Year Published: 2018

Understanding the influence of nutrients on stream ecosystems in agricultural landscapes

Sustaining the quality of the Nation’s water resources and the health of our diverse ecosystems depends on the availability of sound water-resources data and information to develop effective, science-based policies. Effective management of water resources also brings more certainty and efficiency to important economic sectors. Taken together,...

Munn, Mark D.; Frey, Jeffrey W.; Tesoriero, Anthony J.; Black, Robert W.; Duff, John H.; Lee, Kathy E.; Maret, Terry R.; Mebane, Christopher A.; Waite, Ian R.; Zelt, Ronald B.
Munn, M.D., Frey, J.W., Tesoriero, A.J., Black, R.W., Duff, J.H., Lee, Kathy, Maret, T.R., Mebane, C.A., Waite, I.R., and Zelt, R.B., 2018, Understanding the influence of nutrients on stream ecosystems in agricultural landscapes: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1437, 80 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1437.

Year Published: 2018

New insights on scale-dependent surface-groundwater exchange from a floating self-potential Dipole

In south-central Texas the lower Guadalupe River has incised into the outcrop of the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer. The river and the aquifer are hydraulically connected across the outcrop, although the connectivity is obscured at the surface by alluvium and surface-water and groundwater exchange dynamics are currently poorly understood. To investigate...

Ikard, Scott; Teeple, Andrew P.; Payne, Jason ; Stanton, Gregory P.; Banta, J. Ryan
Scott J. Ikard Andrew P. Teeple Jason D. Payne Gregory P. Stanton J. Ryan Banta Journal of Environmental and Engineering Geophysics (2018) 23 (2): 261-287. https://doi.org/10.2113/JEEG23.2.261

Year Published: 2018

Sediment accretion and carbon storage in constructed wetlands receiving water treated with metal-based coagulants

In many regions of the world, subsidence of organic rich soils threatens levee stability and freshwater supply, and continued oxidative loss of organic matter contributes to greenhouse gas production. To counter subsidence in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta of northern California, we examined the feasibility of using constructed wetlands...

Stumpner, Elizabeth; Kraus, Tamara; Liang, Yan; Bachand, Sandra M.; Horwath, William R.; Bachand, Philip A.M.
Stumpner, E.B., Kraus, T.E., Liang, Y.L., Bachand, S.M., Horwath, W.R. and Bachand, P.A., 2017. Sediment accretion and carbon storage in constructed wetlands receiving water treated with metal-based coagulants. Ecological Engineering.

Year Published: 2018

A preliminary study of variation of Trapa in Japan

SummaryFrequent occurrence of intermediate forms and poor knowledge on the variability of characters have caused some difficulties in the taxonomy of Trapa in Japan. Thus I made a preliminary analysis on the variation of nuts collected from 21 populations in Southwestern Japan. Attention was paid to some morphometrical characters of the nut and...

Rybicki, Nancy B.; Lai, Vincent; Kadono, Yasuro
Kadono, Yasuro, 2018, A preliminary study of variation of Trapa in Japan (translated into English from the Japanese by V. Chintu Lai): U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1075, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181075. [The translation was edited by Nancy B. Rybicki. The article was originally published in Japanese with English summary as Kadono, Y., 1987, A preliminary study of variation of Trapa in Japan: Acta Phytotaxonomica et Geobotanica, v. 38 (September), p. 199–210, https://doi.org/10.18942/bunruichiri.KJ00002992255.]

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: 1,059
Cowpasture river looking downstream
December 31, 2017

Cowpasture river looking downstream.

Looking downstream along the cowpasture river.

Photograph showing dry Frio below Concan
December 31, 2017

Dry Frio below Concan

Photograph from page 19 of
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report

...
Wintry trees and grasses line New Jersey's Mantua Creek.
December 31, 2017

Wintry trees and grasses line New Jersey's Mantua Creek.

Wintry, leafless trees and tawny grasses provide a natural buffer along the undeveloped banks of New Jersey's Mantua Creek.

Cowpasture river monitoring at Route 627 near Williamsville, VA
December 31, 2017

Cowpasture river monitoring at Route 627 near Williamsville, VA

Cowpasture river monitoring at Route 627 near Williamsville, VA

Photograph showing Helotes flood
December 31, 2017

Helotes flood

Page 67 photo from
Opsahl, S.P., Musgrove, M., Mahler, B.J., and Lambert, R.B., 2018, Water-quality observations of the San Antonio segment of the Edwards aquifer, Texas, with an emphasis on processes influencing nutrient and pesticide geochemistry and factors affecting aquifer vulnerability, 2010–16: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5060

...
Monitoring at Little Stony Creek above Archer Trail near Pembroke, VA
December 31, 2017

Monitoring at Little Stony Creek above Archer Trail near Pembroke, VA

Water monitoring at Little Stony Creek above Archer Trail near Pembroke, VA

Monitoring Ramseys Draft at Route 716 near West Augusta
December 31, 2017

Monitoring Ramseys Draft at Route 716 near West Augusta

Monitoring Ramseys Draft at Route 716 near West Augusta

Digital elevation model created by an Unmanned Aerial System
December 31, 2017

Digital Elevation Model Created by an Unmanned Aerial System

This digital elevation model was created using structure from motion software mounted to an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) to analyze bridge scour. Studies using UAS have included stream temperature analyses, bird and mammal surveys, coastal change mapping, sandbar habitat surveys, fluvial erosion rates, microclimate mapping, air quality analysis, plant stress assessment,

...
Monitoring Roanoke River along Route 626 at Lafayette, VA
December 31, 2017

Monitoring Roanoke River along Route 626 at Lafayette, VA

Monitoring Roanoke River along Route 626 at Lafayette, VA

Unmanned Aerial System prior to takeoff
December 31, 2017

Unmanned Aerial System

This small unmanned aerial system with digital camera has been used to create digital elevation models to answer questions about erosion, bridge scour, and other hydraulics analyses. 

Monitoring Spruce Creek at Route 627 near Nellysford, VA
December 31, 2017

Monitoring Spruce Creek at Route 627 near Nellysford, VA

Monitoring Spruce Creek at Route 627 near Nellysford, VA

December 31, 2017

Groundwater use from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system, 1900 to 2010

Groundwater use from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system, 1900 to 2010” is a short video showing modeled groundwater withdrawal rates from the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system (Ozark system) in the central United States. The Ozark Plateaus Groundwater Availability Study aims to quantify current groundwater resources in the Ozark system, evaluate how these resources have changed

...
Filter Total Items: 367
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.

Date published: March 27, 2017

Public Invitation: The State of Your State’s Vital Water Resources

Media and the public are invited to attend a free meeting about South Dakota water issues on Thursday, April 6, in Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Date published: March 27, 2017

Helping Desert Communities Find Hidden Water

Desert communities throughout the Southwest are putting water availability at the top of their municipal agendas.

Date published: March 15, 2017

Information Flows Freely, Even in a Drought

The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.

Date published: March 13, 2017

Water managers explore new strategies to protect fish in California’s Bay Delta

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

Date published: March 9, 2017

How Well Do You Know Groundwater

Groundwater, which flows out of sight through aquifers beneath our feet, is one of the Nation’s most important natural resources. In recognition of National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 5–11, 2017, here’s an opportunity to put your knowledge of this vital resource to the test!

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 8, 2017

Understanding Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Water Storage Option in the Pojoaque River Basin

In order to provide long-term storage of diverted surface water from the Rio Grande as part of the Aamodt water rights settlement, managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in Pojoaque River Basin arroyos was proposed as an option.

Date published: March 7, 2017

Worth the Weight: New Table Aims to Clarify Variable Atomic Weight Values

The new table includes both standard and conventional atomic weights values to clarify that many atomic weights have natural variation and to provide single values for chemical education use

Date published: March 6, 2017

The Challenge of Tracking Nutrient Pollution 2,300 Miles

Nitrogen and phosphorus are essential nutrients—yet too much of a good thing is not always a good thing. Scientists are investigating nutrient pollution down the Mississippi River.

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: March 6, 2017

USGS Finds Elevated Levels of Arsenic, Radon, Methane in Some Private Wells in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania

Tests of 75 private drinking water wells in Lycoming County, in north-central Pennsylvania, found water from most of the sampled wells contained concentrations of radon that exceeded a proposed, nonbinding health standard for drinking water. Smaller percentages of the wells contained concentrations of arsenic or methane that exceed existing drinking water standards.

Date published: March 2, 2017

Human, Cattle Viruses Detected in Some Great Lakes Tributaries

Human and bovine, or cattle, viruses were detected in a small percentage of some Great Lakes Basin streams, with human viruses more prevalent in urban streams and bovine viruses more common in streams in agricultural areas, according to a recent U.S. Geological Survey-led study.