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: 186
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
Status: Active

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 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
Date published: January 1, 2017
Status: Completed

Lower Granite Reservoir Bathymetric and Underwater Video Surveys

Sedimentation of Lower Granite Reservoir, operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, affects commercial navigation and reservoir storage capacity. Some groups are concerned that dredging the reservoir to remove excess sediment may negatively affect endangered species such as steelhead and salmon.

Contacts: Ryan L Fosness
Filter Total Items: 15,167
Year Published: 2018

Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir Drainage Area, Rhode Island, Water Year 2016

As part of a long-term cooperative program to monitor water quality within the Scituate Reservoir watershed, the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Providence Water Supply Board collected streamflow and water-quality data at the Scituate Reservoir and tributaries. Streamflow and concentrations of chloride and sodium estimated from...

Smith, Kirk P.
Smith, K.P., 2018, Streamflow, water quality, and constituent loads and yields, Scituate Reservoir drainage area, Rhode Island, water year 2016: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1084, 23 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181084.

Year Published: 2018

Flood-inundation maps for the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, Rhode Island

A series of 15 digital flood-inundation maps was developed for a 10.2-mile reach of the Pawtuxet River in the municipalities of West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, Rhode Island, by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Rhode Island Emergency Management Agency and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The coverage of the maps...

Bent, Gardner C.; Lombard, Pamela J.
Bent, G.C., and Lombard, P.J., 2018, Flood-inundation maps for the Pawtuxet River in West Warwick, Warwick, and Cranston, Rhode Island: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5043, 16 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185043.

Year Published: 2018

Pesticide inputs to the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, 2015–16: Results from the Delta Regional Monitoring Program

Emergent hypotheses about causes of the pelagic organism decline in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta (Delta) indicate that a more complete understanding of the quality of water entering the Delta is needed. Less than half of all pesticides used in the Delta watershed are measured in samples collected for routine monitoring, and with new pesticides...

De Parsia, Matthew; Orlando, James L. ; McWayne, Megan M.; Hladik, Michelle L.
De Parsia, M., Orlando, J.L., McWayne, M.M., and Hladik, M.L., 2018, Pesticide inputs to the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta, 2015–16: Results from the Delta Regional Monitoring Program: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 1089, 49 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ds1089.

Year Published: 2018

Temporal and spatial monitoring of cyanobacterial blooms at Willow Creek Reservoir, North-Central Oregon

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) investigated the spatial and temporal dynamics of cyanobacterial (blue-green algal) blooms in Willow Creek Reservoir in north-central Oregon in 2015–16. A combination of cameras and water-quality monitoring equipment was used to assess the frequency and duration of blooms...

Smith, Cassandra D.
Smith, C.D., 2018, Temporal and spatial monitoring of cyanobacterial blooms at Willow Creek Reservoir, north-central Oregon: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5083, 26 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185083.

Year Published: 2018

Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Coordinated Water Resources Monitoring Strategy

Executive SummaryThe Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Coordinated Water Resources Monitoring Strategy (CWRMS) provides an overview of the water-quality and ecological monitoring within the Reserve and presents suggestions from stakeholders for future data collection, data management, and coordination among monitoring programs. The South...

Fisher, Shawn C.; Welk, Robert J.; Finkelstein, Jason S.
Fisher, S.C., Welk, R.J., and Finkelstein, J.S., 2018, Long Island South Shore Estuary Reserve Coordinated Water Resources Monitoring Strategy: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2017–1161, 105 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20171161.

Year Published: 2018

Santa Barbara and Foothill groundwater basins Geohydrology and optimal water resources management—Developed using density dependent solute transport and optimization models

Groundwater has been a part of the city of Santa Barbara’s water-supply portfolio since the 1800s; however, since the 1960s, the majority of the city’s water has come from local surface water, and the remainder has come from groundwater, State Water Project, recycled water, increased water conservation, and as needed, seawater desalination....

Nishikawa, Tracy; Paulinski, Scott R.; Nishikawa, Tracy; Cromwell, Geoffrey; Boyce, Scott E.; Stanko, Zachary P.
Nishikawa, T., ed., 2018, Santa Barbara and Foothill groundwater basins Geohydrology and optimal water resources management—Developed using density dependent solute transport and optimization models, U.S. Geological Survey, Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5059, 4 chap. (A–D), variously paged, https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185059.

Year Published: 2018

Using cluster analysis to compartmentalize a large managed wetland based on physical, biological, and climatic geospatial attributes

Hierarchical and partitional cluster analyses were used to compartmentalize Water Conservation Area 1, a managed wetland within the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge in southeast Florida, USA, based on physical, biological, and climatic geospatial attributes. Single, complete, average, and Ward’s linkages were tested during...

Hahus, Ian; Migliaccio, Kati; Douglas-Mankin, Kyle R.; Klarenberg, Geraldine; Muñoz-Carpena, Rafael
Hahus, I.K., Migliaccio, K.W., Douglas-Mankin, K.R., Klarenberg, G., and Munoz-Carpena, R. (2018). Using cluster analysis to compartmentalize a large managed wetland based on physical, biological, and climatic geospatial attributes. Environmental Management. DOI: 10.1007/s00267-018-1050-5

Year Published: 2018

Procedures for using the Horiba Scientific Aqualog® fluorometer to measure absorbance and fluorescence from dissolved organic matter

Advances in spectroscopic techniques have led to an increase in the use of optical measurements (absorbance and fluorescence) to assess dissolved organic matter composition and infer sources and processing. Although optical measurements are easy to make, they can be affected by many variables rendering them less comparable, including by...

Hansen, Angela M.; Fleck, Jacob; Kraus, Tamara E. C.; Downing, Bryan D.; von Dessonneck, Travis; Bergamaschi, Brian
Hansen, A.M., Fleck, J.A., Kraus, T.E.C., Downing, B.D., von Dessonneck, T., and Bergamaschi, B.A., 2018, Procedures for using the Horiba Scientific Aqualog® fluorometer to measure absorbance and fluorescence from dissolved organic matter: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2018–1096, 31 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/ofr20181096.

Year Published: 2018

Characterization of peak streamflows and flood inundation of selected areas in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana from the August and September 2017 flood resulting from Hurricane Harvey

Hurricane Harvey made landfall near Rockport, Texas, on August 25, 2017, as a Category 4 hurricane with wind gusts exceeding 150 miles per hour. As Harvey moved inland, the forward motion of the storm slowed down and produced tremendous rainfall amounts over southeastern Texas, with 8-day rainfall amounts exceeding 60 inches in some locations,...

Watson, Kara M.; Harwell, Glenn R.; Wallace, David S.; Welborn, Toby L.; Stengel, Victoria G.; McDowell, Jeremy S.
Watson, K.M., Harwell, G.R., Wallace, D.S., Welborn, T.L., Stengel, V.G., and McDowell, J.S., 2018, Characterization of peak streamflows and flood inundation of selected areas in southeastern Texas and southwestern Louisiana from the August and September 2017 flood resulting from Hurricane Harvey: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018–5070, 44 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185070.

Year Published: 2018

Geochemical characterization and modeling of regional groundwater contributing to the Verde River, Arizona between Mormon Pocket and the USGS Clarkdale gage

We use synoptic surveys of stream discharge, stable isotopes, and dissolved noble gases to identify the source of groundwater discharge to the Verde River in central Arizona. The Verde River more than doubles in discharge in Mormon Pocket over a 1.4 km distance that includes three discrete locations of visible spring input to the river and other...

Beisner, Kimberly R.; Gardner, W. Payton; Hunt, Andrew G.
Beisner, K.R., Gardner, W.P., Hunt, A.G., (2018) Geochemical characterization and modeling of regional groundwater contributing to the Verde River, Arizona between Mormon Pocket and the USGS Clarkdale gage, Journal of Hydrology. vol. 564, p. 99-114. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2018.06.078

Year Published: 2018

Methylmercury dynamics in Upper Sacramento Valley rice fields with low background soil mercury levels

Few studies have considered how methylmercury (MeHg, a toxic form of Hg produced in anaerobic soils) production in rice (Oryza sativa L.) fields can affect water quality, and little is known about MeHg dynamics in rice fields. Surface water MeHg and total Hg (THg) imports, exports, and storage were studied in two commercial rice fields in the...

Tanner, K. Christy; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Marvin-DiPasquale, Mark C.; Fleck, Jacob; Tate, Kenneth W.; Linquist, Bruce A.
Tanner, K.C., Windham-Myers, L., Mark Marvin-DiPasquale, M., Fleck, J.A., Tate, K.W., and Linquist, B.A., 2018, Methylmercury dynamics in upper Sacramento Valley rice fields with low background soil mercury levels: Journal of Environmental Quality, v. published / on-line.

Year Published: 2018

Nutrient loads in the Lost River and Klamath River Basins, south-central Oregon and northern California, March 2012–March 2015

The U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation collected water-quality data from March 2012 to March 2015 at locations in the Lost River and Klamath River Basins, Oregon, in an effort to characterize water quality and compute a nutrient budget for the Bureau of Reclamation Klamath Reclamation Project. The study described in this report...

Schenk, Liam N.; Stewart, Marc A.; Caldwell Eldridge, Sara L.
Schenk, L.N., Stewart, M.A., and Eldridge, S.L.C., 2018, Nutrient loads in the Lost River and Klamath River Basins, south-central Oregon and northern California, March 2012–March 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2018-5075, 55 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/sir20185075.

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
Flooding in Soldier Pond, Maine
May 2, 2018

Flooding in Soldier Pond, Maine

Flooding in Soldier Pond, Maine, following rainfall and snowmelt that led to high water levels in the Fish and St. John Rivers in April and May of 2018. 

Rapid Deployment Gage in Soldier Pond, Maine
May 2, 2018

Rapid Deployment Gage in Soldier Pond, Maine

USGS field crews installed a temporary rapid deployment gage on May 2, 2018, at Soldier Pond in the Fish River to monitor flooding near Fort Kent in Maine.  

Rapid Deployment Gage in Soldier Pond, Maine
May 2, 2018

Rapid Deployment Gage in Soldier Pond, Maine

USGS field crews installed a temporary rapid deployment gage on May 2, 2018, at Soldier Pond in the Fish River to monitor flooding near Fort Kent in Maine. 

Discussion on Complexities of the Rio Grande Watershed
April 30, 2018

Discussion on Complexities of the Rio Grande Watershed

Streamside talk about a water managers perspectives on the complexities of the Rio Grande Watershed and the history / need for runoff forecasts for downstream water users. The talk led by Dagmar Llewelly (BOR), Carolyn Donnelly (BOR), Andy Wood (UCAR), and Flaivo Lehner (UCAR) focused on how stream forecasts are developed from snow information and how the forecasts are

...
Rio Grande Gaging Station Sign
April 30, 2018

Rio Grande Gaging Station Sign

Attendees of the 86th Annual Western Snow Conference held in Albuquerque, New Mexico gather at the first streamgaging station established by the United States Geological Survey in 1889 to learn about USGS streamgaging techniques. 

Hydro tech teaches sediment sampling techniques
April 30, 2018

Sediment Sampling Techniques

Attendees of the 86th Annual Western Snow Conference listen as Tyson Hatch of the New Mexico Water Science Center discusses current and past sediment gaging techniques. 

USGS Staff pose next to "First Gaging Station" sign
April 30, 2018

Rio Grande at Embudo, NM - First Gaging Station

Staff from the New Mexico Water Science Center pose next to the "First Gaging Station" sign after hosting a technical tour of the site as part of the 86th annual Western Snow Conference.

April 26, 2018

National Liaison Committee Meeting: Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs)

In this video, three speakers explain U.S. Geological Survey research on harmful algal blooms (HABs) and the nutrients that cause these toxic emerald-green blooms in the Nation’s lakes, reservoirs, and coastal waters. Jennifer Graham and Tom Stiles discuss how USGS science is contributing to the development of early warning systems and predictive tools to guide management

...
Photo of absolute-gravity meter next to a groundwater well in the field
April 25, 2018

Changes in Earth's Gravity Reveal Changes in Groundwater Storage

Did you know that changes in the amount of water in aquifers cause small changes in Earth’s gravitational field? When the amount of groundwater in an aquifer changes, either by recharge or by discharge to surface water or wells, the gravitational acceleration at the land surface also changes. In this photo, USGS Research Hydrologist Jeff Kennedy is making measurements of

...
Attribution: Water Resources
Reston stable isotope lab RSIL Reference VSMOW
April 20, 2018

Reston stable isotope lab (RSIL): reference VSMOW

Reston stable isotope lab RSIL Reference VSMOW

Reston stable isotope lab RSIL Reference Caps
April 20, 2018

Reston stable isotope lab (RSIL): reference caps

Reston stable isotope lab RSIL Reference Caps

Reston stable isotope lab RSIL Reference Hair
April 20, 2018

Reston stable isotope lab (RSIL): reference hair

Reston stable isotope lab RSIL Reference Hair

Filter Total Items: 376
Date published: February 22, 2017

Sediment Flows into Galveston Bay Studied to Help Understand Health of Watershed

A better understanding of sediment and freshwater flow into Galveston Bay is now available from a new U.S. Geological Survey report, done in cooperation with the Texas Water Development Board, and the Galveston Bay Estuary Program.

Date published: February 16, 2017

Land Elevation Changes Due to Groundwater Withdrawals Indicate Regional Shifts in Houston-Galveston Area

New Report Marks 40 Years of Subsidence Investigations

Date published: February 13, 2017

New USGS Field Method is a Breakthrough for Contaminant Analysis in Water Samples

The U.S. Geological Survey published a new report highlighting a portable continuous-flow centrifuge which aims to save time and money on contaminant analysis of particles suspended in water samples.

Date published: February 13, 2017

New USGS Map of High Plains Aquifer Represents Conditions After Enacting Changes To Agricultural Management Practices

Water-level changes from 2002 to 2015 were examined in wells screened in the High Plains aquifer within the Republican River Basin and the results are now available in a new U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map.

Date published: February 8, 2017

USGS Releases New JavaScript Library for Plotting Water Data for the Nation

A new JavaScript library, called GWIS (Graphing Water Information System), can create time-series plots of information measured at U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic data collection sites across the United States.

Date published: February 8, 2017

Bigger May Not Be Better When It Comes to Mississippi River Diversions

New research shows how river diversions may change water quality in estuaries. 

Date published: February 1, 2017

Christian Zimmerman to Lead Studies as New Director of the Alaska Science Center

The U.S. Geological Survey is pleased to announce the selection of Dr. Christian Zimmerman as the new director of their Alaska Science Center in Anchorage, Alaska. Zimmerman succeeds Dr. Mark Shasby who held the position for the past six years.

Date published: January 30, 2017

Shrinking Number of Long-term Monitoring Sites Could Hamper Scientists’ Ability to Measure Recovery of Impaired Streams

Consistent, national-scale and long-term water-quality monitoring of the Nation's rivers and streams has declined, in some cases, by more than half over time

Attribution: Water Resources
Date published: January 24, 2017

USGS Uses State-of-the-Art Science to Estimate Nutrient and Suspended-Sediment Loads in the Klamath Basin

USGS uses state-of-the-art science techniques to estimate phosphorus and suspended-sediment loads to Upper Klamath Lake in the Klamath Basin.

Date published: January 24, 2017

Uranium in Spring Water North of Grand Canyon Likely Not Related to Nearby Mining Activity

Uranium levels in Pigeon Spring, just north of the Grand Canyon, are likely due to a natural source of uranium and not related to the nearby former Pigeon Mine, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the West: Examining Basin and Range Basin-Fill Aquifers

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, which include parts of Nevada, California, Arizona, Utah and adjacent states, is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: January 19, 2017

Groundwater Quality in the Coastal Lowlands Aquifer System

A regional assessment of untreated groundwater in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system in the southeastern United States is now available from the U.S. Geological Survey.

Filter Total Items: 1,822