Mission Areas L2 Landing Page Tabs
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
In support of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) Water Chemistry Monitoring Project, the USGS Michigan Water Science Center has been collecting long-term water quality data for Michigan's rivers and streams. Water samples are collected 4 to 12 times a year for selected nutrients, trace metals, sediment, and other water-quality constituents. Intensive sampling (12 samples...
The USGS compiles water use information by State including estimated amounts, sources, and categories of use every five years since 1950. Sources include surface water and groundwater, both fresh and saline. Categories include public supply, domestic, livestock, industrial, irrigation, and thermoelectric power. These data provide a source of information about regional and national trends in...
The USGS, in cooperation with the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission, will analyze water sample results from 20 Lansing area wells. The objective of this study is to investigate well characteristics and other factors that may influence the susceptibility of drinking water-supply wells to contamination by contaminants of emerging concern. This information can be used by Lansing and other...
The Mobile River Basin in Alabama, Georgia, Mississippi, and Tennessee is one of the 59 study units that are part of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program. The long-term goals of this program are to describe the status and trends in the quality of a large, representative part of the Nation's surface- and ground-water resources, and to provide a sound,...
The USGS implemented the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program in 1991 to develop long-term consistent and comparable information on streams, rivers, groundwater, and aquatic systems in support of national, regional, State, and local information needs and decisions related to water-quality management and policy.
As part of the USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program the USGS MIWSC operates a stream gage and routinely collects water quality samples at the Clinton River at Sterling Heights, MI. station. Water is analyzed for sediment, nutrients, major ions, and a suite of 271 different pesticides. Information obtained...
The U.S. Geological Survey, in partnership with the National Park Service began a project in 2012 exploring levels of the algal toxins in surface drinking water and recreational waters in 3 National Park Service Parks: Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Isle Royale National Park, and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Produced by cyanobacteria, algal toxins such as microcystin can cause...
► Visit the Water Cycle for Schools Web site
Summary of the water cycle
The water cycle describes how Earth's water is not only always changing forms, between liquid (rain), solid (ice), and gas (vapor), but also moving on, above, and in the Earth. This process is always happening everywhere.
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), in cooperation with the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), use a technique modeled after Olmanson and others (2001) to predict water clarity and corresponding trophic state index (TSI) values based on the...
Piscicides have been used in Rocky Mountain stream and lakes to restore native fish populations. In the last two decades concerns over piscicide effects to non-target organisms, primarily aquatic invertebrates, has increased. Although piscicides have been used for more than 70 years the impact to invertebrate assemblages has not been well studied and is largely unknown. Given the importance a...
Water quality and aquatic life standards that are set by Federal and state regulatory agencies are used to evaluate the quality of our nation’s water and the health of aquatic ecosystems. These standards currently are based on hardness of the water and are determined for single metals, not for mixtures of metals that are typically found in natural systems. Metal mixtures can potentially be...
Flood effects provide evidence of an alternate stable state from dam management on the Upper Missouri River
We examine how historic flooding in 2011 affected the geomorphic adjustments created by dam regulation along the approximately 120 km free flowing reach of the Upper Missouri River bounded upstream by the Garrison Dam (1953) and downstream by Lake Oahe Reservoir (1959) near the City of Bismarck, ND, USA. The largest flood since dam regulation...Skalak, Katherine; Benthem, Adam J.; Hupp, Cliff R.; Schenk, Edward R.; Galloway, Joel M.; Nustad, Rochelle A.
Assessing the dietary bioavailability of metals associated with natural particles: Extending the use of the reverse labeling approach to zinc
We extend the use of a novel tracing technique to quantify the bioavailability of zinc (Zn) associated with natural particles using snails enriched with a less common Zn stable isotope. Lymnaea stagnalis is a model species that has relatively fast Zn uptake rates from the dissolved phase, enabling their rapid enrichment in 67Zn during the initial...Croteau, Marie-Noele; Cain, Daniel J.; Fuller, Christopher C.
Influence of atmospheric rivers on vegetation productivity and fire patterns in the southwestern U.S.
In the southwestern U.S., the meteorological phenomenon known as atmospheric rivers (ARs) has gained increasing attention due to its strong connections to floods, snowpacks, and water supplies in the West Coast states. Relatively less is known about the ecological implications of ARs, particularly in the interior Southwest, where AR storms are...Albano, Christine M.; Dettinger, Michael; Soulard, Christopher E.
Ascii grids of predicted pH in depth zones used by domestic and public drinking water supply depths, Central Valley, California
The ascii grids associated with this data release are predicted distributions of continuous pH at the drinking water depth zones in the groundwater of Central Valley, California. The two prediction grids produced in this work represent predicted pH at the domestic supply and public supply drinking water depths, respectively and are bound by the...Zamora, Celia; Nolan, Bernard T.; Gronberg, JoAnn M.
Predicted pH at the domestic and public supply drinking water depths, Central Valley, California
This scientific investigations map is a product of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) project modeling and mapping team. The prediction grids depicted in this map are of continuous pH and are intended to provide an understanding of groundwater-quality conditions at the domestic and public supply drinking...Rosecrans, Celia Z.; Nolan, Bernard T.; Gronberg, Jo Ann M.
Prediction and visualization of redox conditions in the groundwater of Central Valley, California
Regional-scale, three-dimensional continuous probability models, were constructed for aspects of redox conditions in the groundwater system of the Central Valley, California. These models yield grids depicting the probability that groundwater in a particular location will have dissolved oxygen (DO) concentrations less than selected threshold...Rosecrans, Celia Z.; Nolan, Bernard T.; Gronberg, JoAnn M.
Volcanic ash supports a diverse bacterial community in a marine mesocosm
Shallow-water coral reef ecosystems, particularly those already impaired by anthropogenic pressures, may be highly sensitive to disturbances from natural catastrophic events, such as volcanic eruptions. Explosive volcanic eruptions expel large quantities of silicate ash particles into the atmosphere, which can disperse across millions of square...Verena Witt; Paul M Ayris; Damby, David; Corrado Cimarelli; Ulrich Kueppers; Donald B Dingwell; Gert Wörheide
Antarctic ice-core water (USGS49) – A new isotopic reference material for δ2H and δ18O measurements of water
As a result of the scarcity of isotopic reference waters for daily use, a new secondary isotopic reference material for international distribution has been prepared from ice-core water from the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station. This isotopic reference material, designated as USGS49, was filtered, homogenised, loaded into glass ampoules, sealed...Lorenz, Jennifer M.; Qi, Haiping; Coplen, Tyler B.
Divergent surface and total soil moisture projections under global warming
Land aridity has been projected to increase with global warming. Such projections are mostly based on off-line aridity and drought metrics applied to climate model outputs but also are supported by climate-model projections of decreased surface soil moisture. Here we comprehensively analyze soil moisture projections from the Coupled Model...Berg, Alexis; Sheffield, Justin; Milly, Paul C.D.
Defining snow drought and why it matters
On 12 February, water resource managers at the Oroville Dam issued an evacuation warning that forced some 180,000 Californians to relocate to higher ground. The story of how conditions got to this point involves several factors, but two clearly stand out: the need to prevent water shortages during a record drought, followed by one of the wettest...Harpold, Adrian; Dettinger, Michael; Rajagopal, Seshadri
Shifts in microbial community structure and function in surface waters impacted by unconventional oil and gas wastewater revealed by metagenomics
Unconventional oil and gas (UOG) production produces large quantities of wastewater with complex geochemistry and largely uncharacterized impacts on surface waters. In this study, we assessed shifts in microbial community structure and function in sediments and waters upstream and downstream from a UOG wastewater disposal facility. To do this,...Fahrenfeld, N.L.; Reyes, Hannah Delos; Eramo, Alessia; Akob, Denise M.; Mumford, Adam; Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.
Environmental signatures and effects of an oil and gas wastewater spill in the Williston Basin, North Dakota
Wastewaters from oil and gas development pose largely unknown risks to environmental resources. In January 2015, 11.4 M L (million liters) of wastewater (300 g/L TDS) from oil production in the Williston Basin was reported to have leaked from a pipeline, spilling into Blacktail Creek, North Dakota. Geochemical and biological samples...Cozzarelli, Isabelle M.; Skalak, Katherine; Kent, D.B.; Engle, Mark A.; Benthem, Adam J.; Mumford, Adam; Haase, Karl B.; Farag, Aïda M.; Harper, David; Nagel, S. C.; Iwanowicz, Luke R.; Orem, William H.; Akob, Denise M.; Jaeschke, Jeanne B.; Galloway, Joel M.; Kohler, Matthias; Stoliker, Deborah L.; Jolly, Glenn D.
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.
This video provides an overvew of the USGS Scenario Evaluator for Electrical Resistivity (SEER).
Today’s environmental site managers have many tools to choose from when conducting site characterization and remediation. Geophysical tools can provide noninvasive ways to see inside the earth, much like how medical imaging lets us see inside the human body. The USGS Scenario Evaluator for...
Wintry, leafless trees and tawny grasses provide a natural buffer along the undeveloped banks of New Jersey's Mantua Creek.
Dry wash in San Rafael Desert with white surface salts. White efflorescent salts form on the soil surface as water evaporates from the soil leaving the salt at the surface.
Salinity loads that originate from groundwater within the Upper Colorado River Basin have decreased from 1986-2011, according to a new U.S....
Cowpasture river monitoring at Route 627 near Williamsville, VA
Muddy Creek in the San Rafael Swell with white surface salts.
Salinity loads that originate from groundwater within the Upper Colorado River Basin have decreased from 1986-2011, according to a new U.S. Geological Survey study done in cooperation with the Colorado River Basin Salinity Control Program.
Water monitoring at Little Stony Creek above Archer Trail near Pembroke, VA
Monitoring Ramseys Draft at Route 716 near West Augusta
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, and sediment erosion...
Monitoring Roanoke River along Route 626 at Lafayette, VA
A new U.S. Geological Survey publication and model can be applied by multiple entities to better understand flow, quantity, sources and sinks of groundwater in the Northern High Plains Aquifer, which covers approximately 100,000 square miles across Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
A new U.S. Geological Survey website provides important information about streamflow in the Comal and San Marcos Rivers and springflow at Comal and San Marcos Springs. This website was developed in collaboration with the Edwards Aquifer Authority.
Former Montana Water Quality Administrator Begins Work in Boise
A new USGS-NASA study found widespread shoreline loss along heavily oiled areas of Louisiana's coast after the 2010 BP Deepwater Horizon oil spill and compared the erosion from the spill with coastal changes Hurricane Isaac caused in 2012.
A new USGS study shows non-native Brown Trout can place a burden on native Brook Trout under the increased water temperatures climate change can cause.
In partnership with the Federal Advisory Committee on Water Information
Building knowledge to protect ecological and human health
The heavy rains and storm surge Hurricane Matthew produced caused severe flooding in many parts of the south east, resulting in almost 40 peak flood records. As the flood waters continue to recede from some affected areas, the U. S. Geological Survey will continue its efforts to record this historic flooding. Click here to learn more about the work the USGS has completed for Hurricane Matthew.
First application shows majority of methane in study stream emitted to the atmosphere.
A new study offers the most sophisticated analyses to date on how Los Angeles-area groundwater supplies are replenished. The analyses provide water managers with a clearer understanding of the sources and amount of available groundwater in the region – information that is important for planning and management of the vital resource.