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: 167
algal bloom willow creek reservoir
Date Published: July 20, 2016
Status: Completed

Blue-green algal blooms in the Willow Creek Reservoir may produce toxins that can be harmful to those that come in contact with them.

Contacts: Casie Smith
USGS scientist collecting samples at Crater Lake, Oregon
Date Published: June 1, 2016

Warming air temperature may change water temperature and water column mixing in Oregon’s Crater Lake over the next several decades, potentially impacting the clarity and health of the iconic lake.

Contacts: Tamara Wood
Date Published: April 28, 2016

The Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP) fulfills the Water Resources Mission Area's objectives to provide comprehensive water availability and use science to the Nation

Attribution: Water Resources
Image: USGS Scientist Researching  Bakken Formation Water Samples
Date Published: April 20, 2016

The USGS National Research Program (NRP), part of the USGS Water Mission Area, conducts research to develop and disseminate science-based information and tools needed for a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the Nation’s water resources. Our science supports a wide range of policies and activities.

Attribution: Water Resources
Dog Lake, Yosemite National Park
Date Published: April 20, 2016

Science to observe, analyze, and understand the movement and condition of surface water.

Attribution: Water Resources
Image: USGS Scientists Monitor Animas River
Date Published: April 20, 2016

Science to monitor and evaluate biological, chemical, and environmental factors affecting water quality.

Attribution: Water Resources
National Groundwater Awareness Week
Date Published: April 20, 2016

Science to discover and describe the location, condition, and behavior of water in the ground.

The Water Cycle for Schools and Kids
Date Published: April 14, 2016

Learn about water! As part of the USGS's Water Science School, we have created a water-cycle diagram for schools and "kids" of all ages, from 5-105. Our diagram is available in over 20 languages. We also offer an interactive diagram which allows you to "...

The ecology teams quantitatively sample fish and mussels semiannually in the spring and fall
Date Published: April 14, 2016

WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) is a program of the Department of the Interior that focuses on improving water conservation and helping water-resource managers make sound decisions about water use.

Flooded Pier at Assawoman Bay, MD
Date Published: April 14, 2016

One of the critical roles that USGS personnel play in their day-to-day activities is to respond in a timely and professional manner to floods that can occur at any time of the year and for a variety of reasons. The Flood Science Capability Team examines the cause and effect...

Historic water tower in Chicago.
Date Published: March 15, 2016

The Water-Use Open Forum allows those involved in water-use data collection, data management, and regulation to communicate about challenges and solutions to water-use data issues, such as data collection, storage, QA/QC, analysis and data dissemination.

Filter Total Items: 1,556
Year Published: 2017

Microbially mediated barite dissolution in anoxic brines

Fluids injected into shale formations during hydraulic fracturing of black shale return with extraordinarily high total-dissolved-solids (TDS) and high concentrations of barium (Ba) and radium (Ra). Barite, BaSO4, has been implicated as a possible source of Ba as well as a problematic mineral scale that forms on internal well surfaces, often in...

Ouyang, Bingjie; Akob, Denise M.; Dunlap, Darren S.; Renock, Devon
Attribution: Water Resources
Ouyang, B., D. M. Akob, D. S. Dunlap, and D. Renock. 2017. Microbially mediated barite dissolution in anoxic brines. Applied Geochemistry, 76: 51-59.

Year Published: 2017

Evaluating mountain meadow groundwater response to Pinyon-Juniper and temperature in a great basin watershed

This research highlights development and application of an integrated hydrologic model (GSFLOW) to a semiarid, snow-dominated watershed in the Great Basin to evaluate Pinyon-Juniper (PJ) and temperature controls on mountain meadow shallow groundwater. The work used Google Earth Engine Landsat satellite and gridded climate archives for model...

Carroll, Rosemary W.H.; Huntington, Justin L.; Snyder, Keirith A.; Niswonger, Richard G.; Morton, Charles; Stringham, Tamzen K.
Attribution: Water Resources
Carroll, R. W., Huntington, J. L., Snyder, K. A., Niswonger, R., Morton, C., & Stringham, T. K. (2016). Evaluating mountain meadow groundwater response to Pinyon‐Juniper and temperature in a Great Basin watershed. Ecohydrology.

Year Published: 2017

Nutrient processes at the stream-lake interface for a channelized versus unmodified stream mouth

Inorganic forms of nitrogen and phosphorous impact freshwater lakes by stimulating primary production and affecting water quality and ecosystem health. Communities around the world are motivated to sustain and restore freshwater resources and are interested in processes controlling nutrient inputs. We studied the environment where streams flow...

Niswonger, Richard G.; Naranjo, Ramon C.; Smith, David; Constantz, James E.; Allander, Kip K.; Rosenberry, Donald O.; Neilson, Bethany; Rosen, Michael R.; Stonestrom, David A.
Attribution: Water Resources
Niswonger, R., Naranjo, R., Smith, D., Constantz, J., Allander, K., Rosenberry, D., Neilson, B., Rosen, M., Stonestrom, D., 2017, Nutrient processes at the stream-lake interface for a channelized versus unmodified stream mouth, Water Resour. Res., 53, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016WR019538

Year Published: 2017

Potentially exploitable supercritical geothermal resources in the ductile crust

The hypothesis that the brittle–ductile transition (BDT) drastically reduces permeability implies that potentially exploitable geothermal resources (permeability >10−16 m2) consisting of supercritical water could occur only in rocks with unusually high transition temperatures such as basalt. However, tensile fracturing is possible even in...

Watanabe, Noriaki; Numakura, Tatsuya; Sakaguchi, Kiyotoshi; Saishu, Hanae; Okamoto, Atsushi; Ingebritsen, Steven E.; Tsuchiya, Noriyoshi
Attribution: Water Resources

Year Published: 2017

Changes in the Chemistry of Groundwater Reacted with CO2: Comparison of Laboratory Results with the ZERT Field Pilot

As part of the ZERT program, sediments from two wells at the ZERT site, located in Bozeman, Montana, USA were reacted with a solution having the composition of local groundwater. A total of 50 water samples were collected from 7 containers placed for 15 days in a glove box with one atmosphere of CO2 to investigate detailed changes in the...

Kharaka, Yousif K.; Thordsen, James J.; Abedini, Atosa A.; Beers, Sarah; Thomas, Burt
Attribution: Water Resources
Kharaka, Y. K., Thordsen, J. J., Abedini, A., Beers, S. Thomas, B., 2017, Changes in the chemistry of groundwater reacted with CO2: Comparison of laboratory results with the ZERT field pilot. Procedia Earth and Planetary Science, v. 17, p. 241 – 244. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.proeps.2016.12.043

Year Published: 2017

Using groundwater age distributions to understand changes in methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE) concentrations in ambient groundwater, northeastern United States

Temporal changes in methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE) concentrations in groundwater were evaluated in the northeastern United States, an area of the nation with widespread low-level detections of MtBE based on a national survey of wells selected to represent ambient conditions. MtBE use in the U.S. peaked in 1999 and was largely discontinued by 2007...

Lindsey, Bruce; Ayotte, Joseph; Jurgens, Bryant; DeSimone, Leslie
Attribution: Water Resources
Lindsey, B.D., Ayotte, J.D., Jurgens, B.C., Desimone, L.A., 2017, Using Groundwater Age Distributions to Understand Changes in Methyl tert-butyl ether (MtBE) Concentrations, Northeastern United States, Science of the Total Environment, v 579, 1 February 2017, p. 579-587. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2016.11.058.

Year Published: 2017

Local geology controlled the feasibility of vitrifying Iron Age buildings

During European prehistory, hilltop enclosures made from polydisperse particle-and-block stone walling were exposed to temperatures sufficient to partially melt the constituent stonework, leading to the preservation of glassy walls called ‘vitrified forts’. During vitrification, the granular wall rocks partially melt, sinter viscously and densify...

Fabian B Wadsworth; Michael J Heap; Damby, David; Kai-Uwe Hess; Jens Najorka; Jérémie Vasseur; Dominik Fahrner; Donald B Dingwell
Attribution: Water Resources
Wadsworth, F. B. et al. 2017. Local geology controlled the feasibility of vitrifying Ion Age buildings. Scientific Reports, 7:40028; doi: 10.1038/srep40028.

Year Published: 2017

The contribution of rice agriculture to methylmercury in surface waters: A review of data from the Sacramento Valley, California

Methylmercury (MeHg) is a bioaccumulative pollutant produced in and exported from flooded soils, including those used for rice (Oriza sativa L.) production. Using unfiltered aqueous MeHg data from MeHg monitoring programs in the Sacramento River watershed from 1996 to 2007, we assessed the MeHg contribution from rice systems to the Sacramento...

Tanner, K. Christy; Windham-Myers, Lisamarie; Fleck, Jacob; Tate, Kenneth W.; McCord, Stephen A.; Linquist, Bruce A.
Attribution: Water Resources

Year Published: 2017

Acetylene fuels TCE reductive dechlorination by defined Dehalococcoides/Pelobacter consortia

Acetylene (C2H2) can be generated in contaminated groundwater sites as a consequence of chemical degradation of trichloroethene (TCE) by in situ minerals, and C2H2 is known to inhibit bacterial dechlorination. In this study, we show that while high C2H2 (1.3 mM) concentrations reversibly inhibit reductive dechlorination of TCE by Dehalococcoides...

Mao, Xinwei; Oremland, Ronald S.; Liu, Tong; Landers, Abigail A; Baesman, Shaun; Alvarez-Cohen, Lisa
Attribution: Water Resources

Year Published: 2017

Long-term flow-through column experiments and their relevance to natural granitoid weathering rates

Four pairs of fresh and partly-weathered granitoids, obtained from well-characterized watersheds—Merced River, CA, USA; Panola, GA, USA; Loch Vale, CO, USA, and Rio Icacos, Puerto Rico—were reacted in columns under ambient laboratory conditions for 13.8 yrs, the longest running experimental weathering study to date. Low total column mass losses (...

White, Arthur F.; Schulz, Marjorie S.; Lawrence, Corey R.; Vivit, Davison V.; Stonestrom, David A.
Attribution: Water Resources
White, A.F., Schulz, M.S., Lawrence, C.R., Vivit, D.V., Stonestrom, D.A., 2016, Long-Term Flow-Through Column Experiments and Their Relevance to Natural Granitoid Weathering Rates, Geochemica et Cosmochemica Acta, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.gca.2016.11.042

Year Published: 2017

Evaluation of diffuse and preferential flow pathways of infiltratedprecipitation and irrigation using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes

Subsurface-water flow pathways in three different land-use areas (non-irrigated grassland, poplar forest, and irrigated arable land) in the central North China Plain were investigated using oxygen (18O) and hydrogen (2H) isotopes in samples of precipitation, soils, and groundwater. Soil water in the top 10 cm was significantly affected by...

Ma, Bin; Liang, Xing; Liu, Shaohua; Jin, Menggui; Nimmo, John R.; Li, Jingxin
Attribution: Water Resources
Ma, Bin; Liang, Xing; Liu, Shaohua; Jin, Menggui; Nimmo, John R.; Li, Jing Evaluation of diffuse and preferential flow pathways of infiltrated precipitation and irrigation using oxygen and hydrogen isotopes Hydrogeology Journal Issue 3/2017

Year Published: 2017

Hydrochemical determination of source water contributions to Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile (central Italy)

Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile are two shallow (4-5 m) lakes located in the Rieti Basin, central Italy, that have been described previously as surface outcroppings of the groundwater table. In this work, the two lakes as well as springs and rivers that represent their potential source waters are characterized physio-chemically and isotopically,...

Archer, Claire; Noble, Paula; Kreamer, David; Piscopo, Vincenzo; Petitta, Marco; Rosen, Michael R.; Poulson, Simon R.; Piovesan, Gianluca; Mensing, Scott
Attribution: Water Resources
Archer, C., Noble, P., Kreamer, D., Piscopo, V., Petitta, M., Rosen, M.R., Poulson, S., Piovesan, G., and Mensing, S., 2016, Hydrochemical determination of source water contributions to Lake Lungo and Lake Ripasottile (central Italy). Journal of Limnology. 10.4081/jlimnol.2016.1576

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: 978
Image shows flooding around a streamgage at Addicks Reservoir
August 29, 2017
USGS field crew measure reservoir water-level data at Addicks Reservoir, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 29, 2017
USGS scientist Tom Pistillo services the streamgage at Addicks Reservoir to ensure that accurate reservoir water-level data are being measured, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harris County Flood Control District make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows flooding at a streamgage site on Addicks Reservoir
August 29, 2017
USGS field crew measure reservoir water-level data at Addicks Reservoir, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 29, 2017
USGS scientist Tom Pistillo wades through the waters of Barker Reservoir to ensure accurate reservoir water-level data are being measured, which are critical for helping the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and Harris County Flood Control District make informed reservoir operation decisions.
Image shows USGS scientists planning Hurricane Harvey response efforts
August 28, 2017
Planning meeting at the USGS Gulf Coast Office.
Image shows a police car in a flooded roadway in Texas
August 27, 2017
USGS field crews made multiple record high flood measurements on Aug. 27, including downstream of Addicks and Barker dam. Flood measurements near Addicks and Barker dam are critical for making public safety decisions, as 1.2 million people live downstream. USGS hydrologic technicians Eric Boeding and Robert Ellis measured the height and speed of floodwaters at the USGS streamgage site at Buffalo...
USGS scientist Jeff East is monitoring streamflow and flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
August 26, 2017
In addition to staff that conduct field measurements of flooding conditions, others monitor information indoors. Here, USGS scientist Jeff East is monitoring streamflow and flooding from Hurricane Harvey.
Image shows two USGS scientists looking at a computer screen in a truck
August 26, 2017
USGS scientists Vidal Mendoza and Brian Petri take flood measurements at Fifteenmile Creek near Weser, Texas on August 26. The crew used a power measurement technique, since acoustic measurements will not work due to a large amount of sediment and vegetation in the floodwaters. Photo by Mark Schroeder, USGS.
A streamgage near a bridge cross over a river.
August 26, 2017
Photo of a USGS streamgage on the west side of Houston during Hurricane Harvey. Find more information from this site information here: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=08072680
USGS scientist Matthew Barnes makes the highest streamflow measurement ever recorded at Eagle Ferry Rd near Anahuac, Texas.
August 26, 2017
USGS scientist Matthew Barnes makes the highest streamflow measurement ever recorded at Eagle Ferry Rd near Anahuac, Texas. Find more information from this site information here: https://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/uv?site_no=08042558
Scientist taking a photo.
August 26, 2017
USGS scientist Mackenzie Mullins takes flood measurements at Berry Bayou in Houston, Texas.
USGS scientists installs storm-tide sensor in preparation for Hurricane Harvey
August 24, 2017
USGS scientist Darwin Ockerman installs a storm-tide sensor at Packery Channel near Corpus Christi, Texas.
Filter Total Items: 357
Photo showing the Great Basin area
October 11, 2016

Large precipitation events that occur about every 10 years are a critical source of recharge for replenishing groundwater resources, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation.

USGS
October 9, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding or retrieve storm-tide sensors?

- In North Carolina, contact Jeanne Robbins, jrobbins@usgs.gov, 919-571-4017 

- In South Carolina, contact John Shelton, jmshelto@usgs.gov, 803-767-5542

- In Georgia contact Brian McCallum, bemccall@usgs.gov, 678- 924-6672

- In Florida contact Richard Kane, rkane@usgs.gov, 813-918-1275

This is a photograph of a storm-tide sensor used by the USGS to measure storm surge.
October 8, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is using many forms of technology to track and document Hurricane Matthew’s effects on the eastern seaboard. Here is an in-depth look at one of those tools, the storm-tide sensor.

To learn about storm sensors and see their location, explore the USGS Coastal Change Hazard Portal, or see satellite imagery before and after the storm, visit the USGS Hurricane Matthew page.

USGS
October 6, 2016

As the east coast prepares for Hurricane Matthew's arrival, the U.S. Geological Survey uses advanced models to forecast the coastal impacts Matthew could bring. 

USGS
October 3, 2016

As coastal development along the Gulf Coast continues to expand, tidal saline wetlands could have difficulty adjusting to rising sea levels.

Image shows flooded roads with boats alongside the banks
September 28, 2016

Some regional trends; no widespread national pattern

USGS: Science for a changing world
September 26, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

Iowa
September 23, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.

Ariel photo of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta
September 20, 2016

New research from the U.S. Geological Survey and partners illustrates how climate change is perceived among different generations of indigenous residents in subarctic Alaska. While all subjects agreed climate change is occurring, the older participants observed more overall changes than the younger demographic.

Image: Boise Watershed Watch
September 19, 2016

Now in its ninth year, Watershed Watch educates children and adults about the health of the Boise River watershed