Mission Areas

Water

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
Filter Total Items: 75
Terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (T-LiDAR) Technology
September 2, 2011

The live oaks framing Toomer's Corner in Auburn, Alabama were planted about 1880 and have served as a focal point for Auburn celebrations in recent decades. The trees recently received a powerful dose of an herbicide known as Spike 80DF. In an effort to save the trees, a task force made up of university horticulturists, landscapers, agronomists, engineers, chemists and others has...

USGS_partner_logo
September 26, 2010

Various environmental groups in Alabama are concerned that the use of culverts at highway crossings to convey stream flows has detrimental effects on the natural conditions of streams. Specifically, some groups are concerned that changes in stream geomorphology, sediment concentrations, and associated turbidity adversely impact the benthic macroinvertebrate community when culverts are...

Image: Soil Core Sample #1
September 29, 2009

The LaWSC, in collaboration with researchers from the National Wetlands Research Center (NWRC), the NRP program, Auburn University, and Clemson University, is documenting conditions in tidal swamps in Louisiana, Georgia, and South Carolina as a baseline with which to compare future data to assess the impacts of climate change in such areas. Tidal swamps in these states offer an array of...

Cave in fractured Austin Group rock located approximately 9.3 miles northeast of city of Uvalde in Uvalde County, Texas.
September 29, 2009

In early 2009, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) constructed a rock barrier across the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet (MRGO), a navigation channel between the Port of New Orleans and the Gulf of Mexico. In August 2008, prior to construction of the rock barrier, the LaWSC, in cooperation with the USACE, began monitoring specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, and discharge in the MRGO to...

Wetlands on the Fort A.P. Hill reservation are all freshwater
September 23, 2009

Wetlands in the Bayou aux Carpes area, south of New Orleans, La., currently are isolated from direct inflow of storm water runoff by levees and spoil banks. The USACE is considering removal of a spoil bank that would allow storm-water runoff to flow through and across the wetlands. . The wetlands consist of floating marshes, with a predominately organic substrate, and forested wetlands, some...

Simulation showing how geoelectric vectors (black)
April 18, 2009

Saltwater encroachment has been detected in six aquifers, including the "1,500-foot" and "2,000-foot" sands, north of the Baton Rouge fault in East Baton Rouge Parish. The encroachment is in response to ground-water withdrawals, primarily for public supply and industrial uses, in Baton Rouge. Additional information is needed for water planners and managers in the Baton...

Five Mile Canoeing
January 7, 2005

The Black Warrior - Cahaba Rivers Land Trust and City of Tarrant (as part of the Fivemile Creek Greenway Partnership) are among the new USGS cooperators for 2003 -04. These organizations are spearheading an effort to restore Fivemile Creek in Jefferson County to its place as an important asset in daily lives for those who live and work along the creek in northern Jefferson County. The Greenway...

Total withdrawals in million gallons per day by watershed
January 7, 2005

Water is one of the most important of Alabama's natural resources. Water is not only a vital component of human existence, it is critical to the overall quality of life. In order to protect and preserve this resource for future generations, we must have a baseline of information to make decisions. Decision and policy makers must know the answers to three fundamental questions: where is the...

Total freshwater withdrawals in Alabama, 2005
January 2, 2005

More surface water than ground water was withdrawn for all categories except aquaculture, mining, and self-supplied residential. During 2005, estimated withdrawals by category and in descending order were: thermoelectric power, 8,274 Mgal/d; public supply, 802 Mgal/d; self-supplied industrial, 550 Mgal/d; irrigation, 161 Mgal/d; aquaculture, 75 Mgal/d; self-supplied residential, 39 Mgal/d;...

rows of herbicide treated crops
January 1, 2005

Water is one of the most important of Alabama's natural resources. Water is not only a vital component of human existence, it is critical to the overall quality of life. In order to protect and preserve this resource for future generations, we must have a baseline of information to make decisions. Decision and policy makers must know the answers to three fundamental questions: where is the...

Water use, by county, in Alabama, 2005
January 1, 2005

Water is one of the most important of Alabama's natural resources. Water is not only a vital component of human existence, it is critical to the overall quality of life. In order to protect and preserve this resource for future generations, we must have a baseline of information to make decisions. Decision and policy makers must know the answers to three fundamental questions: where is the...

Five Mile Canoeing
September 10, 2004

In June, 2004, the Black Warrior - Cahaba Rivers Land Trust (Land Trust) was awarded a Brownfield Grant from the Region 4 US Environmental Protection Agency for 2005. The Land Trust will utilize funding from the Brownfield Assessment Grant program to perform assessment of sites which may have handled hazardous substances from former industrial or commercial activities. The Land Trust is...

Explore new publications and highlighted collections.

Filter Total Items: 1,293
Assessing groundwater depletion and dynamics using GRACE and InSAR: Potential and limitations
Year Published: 2016

Assessing groundwater depletion and dynamics using GRACE and InSAR: Potential and limitations

In the last decade, remote sensing of the temporal variation of ground level and gravity has improved our understanding of groundwater dynamics and storage. Mass changes are measured by GRACE (Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment) satellites, whereas ground deformation is measured by processing synthetic aperture radar satellites data using the...

Castellazzi, Pascal; Martel, Richard; Galloway, Devin L.; Longuevergne, Laurent; Rivera, Alfonso
Castellazzi, P., Martel, R., Galloway, D. L., Longuevergne, L. and Rivera, A. (2016), Assessing Groundwater Depletion and Dynamics Using GRACE and InSAR: Potential and Limitations. Groundwater. doi:10.1111/gwat.12453
Contemporary deposition and long-term accumulation of sediment and nutrients by tidal freshwater forested wetlands impacted by sea level rise
Year Published: 2016

Contemporary deposition and long-term accumulation of sediment and nutrients by tidal freshwater forested wetlands impacted by sea level rise

Contemporary deposition (artificial marker horizon, 3.5 years) and long-term accumulation rates (210Pb profiles, ~150 years) of sediment and associated carbon (C), nitrogen (N), and phosphorus (P) were measured in wetlands along the tidal Savannah and Waccamaw rivers in the southeastern USA. Four sites along each river spanned an upstream-to-...

Noe, Gregory; Hupp, Cliff R.; Bernhardt, Christopher E.; Krauss, Ken W.
Noe, G.B., Hupp, C.R., Bernhardt, C.E., and Krauss, K.W., 2016, Contemporary deposition and long-term accumulation of sediment and nutrients by tidal freshwater forested wetlands impacted by sea level rise: Estuaries and Coasts, v. 39, no. 4, p. 1006-1019, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s12237-016-0066-4.
Richness, biomass, and nutrient content of a wetland macrophyte community affect soil nitrogen cycling in a diversity-ecosystem functioning experiment
Year Published: 2016

Richness, biomass, and nutrient content of a wetland macrophyte community affect soil nitrogen cycling in a diversity-ecosystem functioning experiment

The development of soil nitrogen (N) cycling in created wetlands promotes the maturation of multiple biogeochemical cycles necessary for ecosystem functioning. This development proceeds from gradual changes in soil physicochemical properties and influential characteristics of the plant community, such as competitive behavior, phenology,...

Korol, Alicia R.; Ahn, Changwoo; Noe, Gregory
Yosemite Hydroclimate Network: Distributed stream and atmospheric data for the Tuolumne River watershed and surroundings
Year Published: 2016

Yosemite Hydroclimate Network: Distributed stream and atmospheric data for the Tuolumne River watershed and surroundings

Regions of complex topography and remote wilderness terrain have spatially varying patterns of temperature and streamflow, but due to inherent difficulties of access, are often very poorly sampled. Here we present a data set of distributed stream stage, streamflow, stream temperature, barometric pressure, and air temperature from the Tuolumne...

Lundquist, Jessica D.; Roche, James W.; Forrester, Harrison; Moore, Courtney; Keenan, Eric; Perry, Gwyneth; Cristea, Nicoleta; Henn, Brian; Lapo, Karl; McGurk, Bruce; Cayan, Daniel R.; Dettinger, Michael D.
Lundquist, J.D., Roche, J., Forrester, H., Huggett, B., Moore, C., Keenan, E., Perry, G., Cristea, N., Henn, B., Lapo. K., McGurk, B., Cayan, D., and Dettinger, M., 2016, Yosemite Hydroclimate Network—Distributed stream and atmospheric data for the Tuolumne River watershed and surroundings: Water Resources Research (Technical Reports—Data) 52, 2112 p., doi:10.1002/2016WR019261
Near-field receiving water monitoring of trace metals and a benthic community near the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant in south San Francisco Bay, California; 2015
Year Published: 2016

Near-field receiving water monitoring of trace metals and a benthic community near the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant in south San Francisco Bay, California; 2015

Trace-metal concentrations in sediment and in the clam Macoma petalum (formerly reported as Macoma balthica), clam reproductive activity, and benthic macroinvertebrate community structure were investigated in a mudflat 1 kilometer south of the discharge of the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant (PARWQCP) in South San Francisco Bay,...

Cain, Daniel J.; Thompson, Janet K.; Crauder, Jeffrey; Parchaso, Francis; Stewart, Robin; Turner, Matthew; Hornberger, Michelle I.; Luoma, Samuel N.
Cain, D.J., Thompson, J.K., Crauder, Jeff, Parchaso, Francis, Stewart, Robin, Turner, Mathew, Hornberger, M.I., and Luoma, S.N., 2016, Near-field receiving water monitoring of trace metals and a benthic community near the Palo Alto Regional Water Quality Control Plant in south San Francisco Bay, California; 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2016–1118, 78 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20161118.
Time-varying land subsidence detected by radar altimetry: California, Taiwan and north China
Year Published: 2016

Time-varying land subsidence detected by radar altimetry: California, Taiwan and north China

Contemporary applications of radar altimetry include sea-level rise, ocean circulation, marine gravity, and ice sheet elevation change. Unlike InSAR and GNSS, which are widely used to map surface deformation, altimetry is neither reliant on highly temporally-correlated ground features nor as limited by the available spatial coverage, and can...

Hwang, Cheinway; Yang, Yuande; Kao, Ricky; Han, Jiancheng; Shum, C.K.; Galloway, Devin L.; Sneed, Michelle; Hung, Wei-Chia; Cheng, Yung-Sheng; Li, Fei
Hwang, C., Yang, Y., Kao, R., Han, J., Shum, C.K., Galloway, D.L., Sneed, M., Hung, W-C, Cheng, Y.S. & Li, F. 2016. Time-varying land subsidence detected by radar altimetry: California, Taiwan and north China. Sci. Rep. 6, 28160; doi: 10.1038/srep28160
Contrasting nitrogen fate in watersheds using agricultural and water quality information
Year Published: 2016

Contrasting nitrogen fate in watersheds using agricultural and water quality information

Surplus nitrogen (N) estimates, principal component analysis (PCA), and end-member mixing analysis (EMMA) were used in a multisite comparison contrasting the fate of N in diverse agricultural watersheds. We applied PCA-EMMA in 10 watersheds located in Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Nebraska, Mississippi, and Washington ranging in size from 5 to 1254 km2...

Essaid, Hedeff I.; Baker, Nancy T.; McCarthy, Kathleen A.
Essaid, H.I., N.T. Baker, McCarthy, K.A., 2016, Contrasting nitrogen fate in watersheds using agricultural and water quality information, Journal of Environmental Quality, http://dx.doi.org/10.2134/jeq2016.02.0071
Potential corrosivity of untreated groundwater in the United States
Year Published: 2016

Potential corrosivity of untreated groundwater in the United States

Corrosive groundwater, if untreated, can dissolve lead and other metals from pipes and other components in water distribution systems. Two indicators of potential corrosivity—the Langelier Saturation Index (LSI) and the Potential to Promote Galvanic Corrosion (PPGC)—were used to identify which areas in the United States might be more susceptible...

Belitz, Kenneth; Jurgens, Bryant C.; Johnson, Tyler D.
Belitz, Kenneth, Jurgens, B.C., and Johnson, T.D., 2016, Potential corrosivity of untreated groundwater in the United States: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5092, 16 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165092.
High spatio-temporal resolution observations of crater-lake temperatures at Kawah Ijen volcano, East Java, Indonesia
Year Published: 2016

High spatio-temporal resolution observations of crater-lake temperatures at Kawah Ijen volcano, East Java, Indonesia

The crater lake of Kawah Ijen volcano, East Java, Indonesia, has displayed large and rapid changes in temperature at point locations during periods of unrest, but measurement techniques employed to-date have not resolved how the lake’s thermal regime has evolved over both space and time. We applied a novel approach for mapping and monitoring...

Lewicki, Jennifer L.; Corentin CaudronVincent van HinsbergGeorge Hill
Lewicki, J.L., C. Caudron, V. van Hinsberg, and G.E. Hilley, 2016. High spatio-temporal resolution observations of crater-lake temperatures at Kawah Ijen volcano, East Java, Indonesia. Bulletin of Volcanology, 78, doi:10.1007/s00445-016-1049-9.
Biogeochemical controls of uranium bioavailability from the dissolved phase
Year Published: 2016

Biogeochemical controls of uranium bioavailability from the dissolved phase

To gain insights into the risks associated with uranium (U) mining and processing, we investigated the biogeochemical controls of U bioavailability in the model freshwater speciesLymnaea stagnalis (Gastropoda). Bioavailability of dissolved U(VI) was characterized in controlled laboratory experiments over a range of water hardness, pH, and in the...

Croteau, Marie-Noele; Fuller, Christopher C.; Cain, Daniel J.; Campbell, Kate M.; Aiken, George R.
Croteau et al. Biogeochemical controls of uranium bioavailability from the dissolved phase. Environ. Sci. Technol.
A water balance model to estimate flow through the Old and Middle River corridor
Year Published: 2016

A water balance model to estimate flow through the Old and Middle River corridor

We applied a water balance model to predict tidally averaged (subtidal) flows through the Old River and Middle River corridor in the Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta. We reviewed the dynamics that govern subtidal flows and water levels and adopted a simplified representation. In this water balance approach, we estimated ungaged flows as linear...

Andrews, Stephen W.; Gross, Edward S.; Hutton, Paul H.
Bayesian nitrate source apportionment to individual groundwater wells in the Central Valley by use of elemental and isotopic tracers
Year Published: 2016

Bayesian nitrate source apportionment to individual groundwater wells in the Central Valley by use of elemental and isotopic tracers

Groundwater quality is a concern in alluvial aquifers that underlie agricultural areas, such as in the San Joaquin Valley of California. Shallow domestic wells (less than 150 m deep) in agricultural areas are often contaminated by nitrate. Agricultural and rural nitrate sources include dairy manure, synthetic fertilizers, and septic waste...

Ransom, Katherine M; Grote, Mark N.; Deinhart, Amanda; Eppich, Gary; Kendall, Carol; Sanborn, Matthew E.; Sounders, A. Kate; Wimpenny, Joshua; Yin, Qing-zhu; Young, Megan B.; Harter, Thomas
Bayesian nitrate source apportionment to individual groundwater wells in the Central Valley by use of elemental and isotopic tracers (2016). Katherine M. Ransom, Mark N. Grote, Amanda Deinhart, Gary Eppich, Carol Kendall, Matthew E. Sanborn, A. Kate Souders, Joshua Wimpenny, Qing-zhu Yin, Megan Young, Thomas Harter. Water Resources Research, 52, pg 5577-5597, doi: 10.1002/2015WR018523

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: 616
A man in an orange shirt writes on a pad of paper
August 26, 2016
Jonathan Gillip, USGS hydrologist, documents a high-water mark he flagged near a damage retirement community in Denham Springs, Louisiana, August 26. So far, USGS teams have flagged and surveyed more than 400 high-watermarks across southern Louisiana.
Two men walk by debris along the side of the road
August 26, 2016
Daniel McCay and Chris Henry, U.S. Geological Survey hydrologic technicians, search a neighborhood south of Denham Springs, Louisiana, for high-water marks August 26. The term high-water mark refers to the debris flood waters will leave on walls, buildings and trees. This thin line of residue is an indicator of how high the waters reached, yet the fragile nature of these marks means they must be...
3 USGS scientists retrieve AUV from Great South Bay, Long Island
August 24, 2016
Retrieval and Results Processed data are exported to two- and three- dimensional mapping applications to visualize water-quality distributions. Combined with observed water currents and bathymetric contours, this allows for an integrated analysis of the system under investigation.
The AUV travels along the under-bay section of the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant outfall pipe in Babylon, NY.
August 24, 2016
The AUV travels along the under-bay section of the Bergen Point Sewage Treatment Plant outfall pipe in Babylon, NY. The goal is to see if changes in surrounding water-quality suggest potential leaks in the aging infrastructure.
A buoy warning of the under-bay sewage treatment plant pipeline in Great South Bay, Long Island
August 24, 2016
A buoy warning of the under-bay sewage treatment plant pipeline appears to guide the AUV on its course; confirming that the AUV’s position is accurate. The AUV uses a differential global positioning system (GPS) receiver and bottom-tracking Doppler velocimetry log (DVL) to maintain position.
2 men in boat on Great South Bay using a hydrophone to locate AUV
August 22, 2016
If the vehicle becomes stuck or disabled at depth, a hydrophone can be used to locate the submerged instrument. When at the surface, the AUV can send its retrieval location to a web server or cell phone.
AUV in Great South Bay, Long Island, NY
August 22, 2016
This autonomous instrument reduces the time and manpower traditionally needed for manned-boat surveys. Because geologic, biologic, hydraulic, and chemical data are collected simultaneously; the datasets allow for a systems-based approach to analysis.
lowering Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) into Great South Bay, Long Island
August 21, 2016
The AUV navigates to its starting position before diving to a fixed distance off the seabed to measure dissolved oxygen concentrations in the Great South Bay, Long Island, NY. The goal is to document the spatial extent of low dissolved oxygen concentrations, or hypoxia, to identify the best habitat for juvenile hard clam survival.
2 men leaning over boat holding Automomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV)
August 21, 2016
USGS Scientists launching an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) An AUV can provide high spatial resolution of water-quality characteristics; such as, temperature, specific conductance, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, chlorophyll, and blue-green algae. The instrument can also provide bathymetry data, water velocity profiles, and side-scan sonar imagery. All of these data are collected...
August 15, 2016
The view on South Sherwood Forest Blvd near the USGS Louisiana Water Science Center office on August 15, 2016.
Image shows a flooded house with trees in the background
August 13, 2016
A flooded house near the confluence of the Comite and Amite Rivers near Denham Springs, LA.
Filter Total Items: 281
two men standing near a well. Truck-mounted rig and well head visible.
August 29, 2016

TECHNICAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Monitoring, verification and accounting are key parts to demonstrating the feasibility or success of integrated carbon capture and storage technologies.

Mt. Lyell and view of Vogelsang Pass, Yosemite National Park, 1913
August 25, 2016

In celebration of the National Park Service Centennial, 1916-2016

 

Iowa
August 24, 2016

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

Reactivated USGS streamgage in Frankton, Indiana
August 23, 2016

A U.S. Geological Survey streamgage, dormant since 2003, was recently reactivated in the city of Frankton, Indiana through a funding partnership with the Indiana Department of Transportation.

Image shows aerial imagery of flooding in Louisiana, courtesy of the National Geodetic Survey
August 22, 2016

The USGS response to the Louisiana floods is part of the larger USGS flood science mission...

Image shows a flooded street with a USGS truck nearby
August 19, 2016

All affected USGS scientists are alive and well, and our flood work continues...

Photograph showing San Pedro Riparian National Conservation Area.
August 18, 2016

Streamflow and groundwater levels are declining in some locations along the San Pedro River near Sierra Vista, Arizona, according to a new report by the U.S. Geological Survey.

Image shows a man suspended over a brown river with red cliffs in the background
August 15, 2016

Feeling salty over our bad jokes? Then this EarthWord’s for you!

Photo of the Colorado River near Moab, Utah
August 15, 2016

Future groundwater replenishment in the Upper Colorado River Basin may benefit from projected increases in future basin-wide precipitation under current climate projections, according to a recent study by the U.S. Geological Survey and Bureau of Reclamation.

Upper Frijoles Canyon, Jemez Mountains, following the Las Conchas wildfire, New Mexico
August 11, 2016

A new interactive map and companion report from the U.S. Geological Survey allows residents living in and around New Mexico’s Jemez Mountains to see where they’re located in relation to postwildfire debris-flow hazards.