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Water

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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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WERC marsh during a storm
June 23, 2017

USGS Louisiana Coastal Sites

Hurricane season starts today, and the USGS Lower Mississippi Gulf Water Science Center is committed to collecting and providing the most up-to-date information before, during, and after the storms that are sure to come our way. When a hurricane or tropical storm is approaching, accurate and timely storm data is crucial in making good decisions regarding...

Hurricane Joaquin seen from space
June 23, 2017

River and Coastal Forecasts

The USGS is not a forecasting agency, but the National Weather Service (NWS) is, and they make extensive use of the data we collect in their effort to provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date forecasts of many Louisiana rivers and streams, and weather along the coast. The links below will provide you with direct access to the NWS forecasts for...

Acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP) is connected to an onboard computer to measure streamflow.
June 1, 2017

In the mid-1990s, a new technology emerged in the field of inland streamflow monitoring. The South Atlantic Water Science Center is making great use of the acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP). It was originally developed for oceanographic work, but was adapted for inland streamflow measurements. This instrument is transforming the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) streamgaging...

Collecting Water Samples fro the Couer d'Alene BEMP
May 26, 2017

STATUS: Active

We partner with the EPA to conduct long-term water-quality and streamflow monitoring and streamflow measurements in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin, which has been widely impacted by historic mining activities. We collect water-quality samples 2-4 times per year at 20 sites throughout the basin. Our scientists analyze these samples for metals...

Lookout Point Dam
May 18, 2017

Hills Creek, Lookout Point, and Dexter Dams are located on the Middle Fork Willamette River upstream of Eugene in western Oregon, and are important resources managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) for flood control, hydroelectric power, recreation, navigation, and irrigation. On the South Santiam River east of Albany in western Oregon, Green Peter and Foster Dams provide functions...

Crooked Canyon spring
May 16, 2017

Groundwater-level monitoring in the upper Deschutes Basin of central Oregon from 1997 to 2008 shows water-level declines in some places that are larger than might be expected from climate variations alone, raising questions regarding the influence of groundwater pumping, canal lining (which decreases recharge), and other human influences. Between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s, water levels in...

Keno reach of the Klamath River
May 9, 2017

The Klamath River from Link River to Keno Dam experiences poor water-quality conditions on a seasonal basis, creating inhospitable conditions for fish and other aquatic organisms. The Link River, the Klamath Straits Drain, and the Klamath River at Keno all were classified as having "very poor" water quality in summer by the Oregon Water Quality Index. The Klamath River in this reach...

McKenzie River
May 1, 2017

Drinking water for the city of Eugene, Oregon, is drawn from the McKenzie River, a high-quality source that is nonetheless threatened by urban, agricultural, and forestry land uses upstream as well as by changes in water management in the watershed. The Eugene Water and Electric Board (EWEB) developed a Drinking Water Source Protection plan for the McKenzie River Watershed that includes...

Shenandoah municipal and industrial discharges
May 1, 2017

A key component to assessing the contaminant exposure pathways in streams and rivers of the Chesapeake Bay is using GIS-based landscape analysis to identify sources of endocrine disrupting chemicals. Municipal and industrial wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) discharges are potentially major sources of EDCs to streams, and therefore understanding the de facto wastewater reuse (represented as...

Old Perpetual Geyser
April 11, 2017

A joint study between the USGS Water and Energy Mission Areas has the main goals of quantifying groundwater resources and geothermal energy potential in much of eastern Oregon, northeastern California, southwestern Idaho, and northernmost Nevada. This study area lies within a broadly-defined Northwest Volcanic Province (NVP) that has been dominated by volcanic eruptions that have shaped the...

Trumpeter swans, Camas National Wildlife Refuge
March 9, 2017

STATUS: Completed

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...

Agricultural lands in Arizona, thumbnail
March 9, 2017

Because of the predominantly semiarid to arid climate in Arizona, economic development in the State is largely influenced by access to adequate water supplies. Water demand is met by pumping ground water from aquifers or by conveying surface water through a system of reservoirs and canals. Anthropogenic water use is a significant component of the hydrologic cycle in Arizona, and accurate...

Filter Total Items: 1,476
Year Published: 2017

Stable isotopic composition of perchlorate and nitrate accumulated in plants: Hydroponic experiments and field data

Natural perchlorate (ClO4−) in soil and groundwater exhibits a wide range in stable isotopic compositions (δ37Cl, δ18O, and Δ17O), indicating that ClO4− may be formed through more than one pathway and/or undergoes post-depositional isotopic alteration. Plants are known to accumulate ClO4−, but little is known about their ability to alter its...

Estrada, Nubia Luz; Böhlke, John Karl; Sturchio, Neil C.; Gu, Baohua; Harvey, Greg; Burkey, Kent O.; Grantz, David A.; McGrath, Margaret T.; Anderson, Todd A.; Rao, Balaji; Sevanthi, Ritesh; Hatzinger, Paul B.; Jackson, W. Andrew
Attribution: Water
Estrada, N.L., Böhlke, J.K., Sturchio, N.C., Gu, B., Harvey, G., Burkey, K.O., Grantz, D.A., MacGrath, M.T., Anderson, T.A., Rao, B., Sevanthi, R., Hatzinger, P.B., and Jackson, W.A., 2017, Stable isotopic composition of perchlorate and nitrate accumulated in plants: Hydroponic experiments and field data. Science of the Total Environment, v. 595, p. 556–566, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.03.223.

Year Published: 2017

Final data report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

This data report provides a compilation of information developed over the last 6+ years by a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional research team. The overall goal of this work has been to identify the biological, chemical, and physical factors that control rates of reductive dechlorination of DDE and DDMU in sediments of the Palos Verdes Shelf (...

Eganhouse, Robert P.; Pontolillo, James; Orem, William H.; Webster, Daniel M.; Hackley, Paul C.; Edwards, Brian D.; Rosenberger, Kurt; Dickhudt, Patrick; Sherwood, Christopher R.; Reinhard, Martin; Qin, Sujie; Dougherty, Jennifer; Hopkins, Gary; Marshall, Ian; Spormann, Alfred
Attribution: Water
Eganhouse, R., Pontolillo, J., DiFilippo, E., Orem, W., Webster, D., Hackley, P., Edwards, B., Rosenberger, K., Swarzenski, P., Dickhudt, P., Sherwood, C., Reinhard, M., Qin, S., Dougherty, J., Hopkins, G., Marshall, I. and Spormann, A., Final Data Report for Factors Controlling DDE Dechlorination Rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A Field and Laboratory Investigation, submitted to J. Huang, Remedial Project Manager, Region 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, July 18, 2016, 1076p

Year Published: 2017

Final synthesis report for factors controlling DDE dechlorination rates on the palos verdes shelf: A field and laboratory investigation

This project was organized into separate field and laboratory studies aimed at answering “18 questions” in the original Scope of Work (cf., section 2 of this report, Background, for explanation). Because of some early results, certain questions became irrelevant and were, therefore, not pursued. In other cases, there simply was not enough time to...

Eganhouse, Robert P.; Orem, William H.; Reinhard, Martin
Attribution: Water
Eganhouse, R., Orem, W. and Reinhard, M., Final Synthesis Report for Factors Controlling DDE Dechlorination Rates on the Palos Verdes Shelf: A Field and Laboratory Investigation, submitted to J. Huang, Remedial Project Manager, Region 9, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, December 19, 2016, 31p.

Year Published: 2017

Extent and persistence of secondary water quality impacts after enhanced reductive bioremediation

Electron donor (ED) addition can be very effective in stimulating enhanced reductive bioremediation (ERB) of a wide variety of groundwater contaminants. However, ERB can result in Secondary Water Quality Impacts (SWQIs) including decreased levels of dissolved oxygen (O2), nitrate (NO3- ), and sulfate (SO42- ), and elevated levels of dissolved...

Borden, Robert C.; Jason M. Tillotson; Ng, Gene-Hua Crystal.; Bekins, Barbara A.; Kent, Douglas B.; Curtis, Gary P.
Attribution: Water
Borden, R.C., Tillotson, J.M., Ng, G.C., Bekins, B.A., Kent, D.B., Curtis, G.P., 2015, Extent and Persistence of Secondary Water Quality Impacts after Enhanced Reductive Bioremediation, SERDP Project ER-2131

Year Published: 2017

Reversible reduction of estrone to 17β-estradiol by Rhizobium, Sphingopyxis, and Pseudomonas isolates from the Las Vegas Wash

Environmental endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs) are a growing concern as studies reveal their persistence and detrimental effects on wildlife. Microorganisms are known to affect the transformation of steroid EDCs; however, the diversity of estrogen-degrading microorganisms and the range of transformations they mediate remain relatively little...

Blunt, Susanna; Benotti, Mark; Rosen, Michael R.; Hedlund, Brian; Moser, Duane
Attribution: Water
Blunt, S., Benotti, M., Rosen, M.R., Hedlund B., and Moser, 2017, Reversible Reduction of Estrone to 17β -estradiol by Rhizobium, Sphingopyxis, and Pseudomonas Isolates from the Las Vegas Wash. Journal of Environmental Quality, 46 281–287. https://dx.doi:10.2134/jeq2016.08.0286

Year Published: 2017

Clarifying atomic weights: A 2016 four-figure table of standard and conventional atomic weights

To indicate that atomic weights of many elements are not constants of nature, in 2009 and 2011 the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (CIAAW) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) replaced single-value standard atomic weight values with atomic weight intervals for 12 elements (hydrogen, lithium, boron,...

Coplen, Tyler B.; Meyers, Fabienne; Holden, Norman E.
Attribution: Water
Coplen, T. B., Meyers, F., and Holden, N. E., 2017, Clarifying Atomic Weights: A 2016 Four-Figure Table of Standard and Conventional Atomic Weights: Journal of Chemical Education, v. 94, p. 311-319. http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jchemed.6b00510

Year Published: 2017

Ecosystem variability along the estuarine salinity gradient: Examples from long-term study of San Francisco Bay

The salinity gradient of estuaries plays a unique and fundamental role in structuring spatial patterns of physical properties, biota, and biogeochemical processes. We use variability along the salinity gradient of San Francisco Bay to illustrate some lessons about the diversity of spatial structures in estuaries and their variability over time....

Cloern, James E.; Jassby, Alan D.; Schraga, Tara; Kress, Erica S.; Martin, Charles A.
Attribution: Water
Cloern, J.E. A.D. Jassby, T.S. Schraga, E. Nejad and C.S. Martin. 2017. Ecosystem Variability along the Estuarine Salinity Gradient: Examples from Long-term Study of San Francisco Bay. Limnology and Oceanography. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/lno.10537

Year Published: 2017

Optimization of on-line hydrogen stable isotope ratio measurements of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds using elemental analyzer–chromium/high-temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS)

Rationale: Accurate hydrogen isotopic analysis of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organics has not been possible with traditional high-temperature conversion (HTC) because the formation of hydrogen-bearing reaction products other than molecular hydrogen (H2) is responsible for non-quantitative H2 yields and possible hydrogen isotopic fractionation....

Gehre, Matthias; Renpenning, Julian; Geilmann, Heike; Qi, Haiping; Coplen, Tyler B.; Kümmel, Steffen; Ivdra, Natalija; Brand, Willi A.; Schimmelmann, Arndt
Attribution: Water
Gehre, M., Renpenning, J., Geilmann, H., Qi, H., Coplen, T. B., Kümmel, S., Ivdra, N., Brand, W. A., Schimmelmann, A., 2017, Optimization of on-line hydrogen stable isotope ratio measurements of halogen- and sulfur-bearing organic compounds using elemental analyzer–chromium/high-temperature conversion isotope ratio mass spectrometry (EA-Cr/HTC-IRMS): Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, v. 31, 475-484. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/rcm.7810

Year Published: 2017

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.
Attribution: Water
Skalak, K., Benthem, A., Hupp, C., Schenk, E., Galloway, J., and Nustad, R. (2016) Flood Effects Provide Evidence of an Alternate Stable State from Dam Management on the Upper Missouri River. River Res. Applic., doi: 10.1002/rra.3084.

Year Published: 2017

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.
Attribution: Water
Croteau, M.N., Cain, D.J. and Fuller, C.C., 2017. Assessing the Dietary Bioavailability of Metals Associated with Natural Particles: Extending the Use of the Reverse Labeling Approach to Zinc. Environmental Science & Technology. 51: 2803-2810, http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.est.6b06253

Year Published: 2017

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.
Attribution: Water
Albano, C.M., Dettinger, M.D. and Soulard, C.E., 2017. Influence of atmospheric rivers on vegetation productivity and fire patterns in the southwestern US. Journal of Geophysical Research: Biogeosciences, 122, 308-323, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JG003608.

Year Published: 2017

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.
Attribution: Water
Celia Z. Rosecrans, 2017, Ascii grids of predicted pH in depth zones used by domestic and public drinking water supply depths, Central Valley, California: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7FX77K4

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: 801
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water measurement
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Hurricane Harvey in Wharton County, Texas.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD taking a high-water mark
September 11, 2017
USGS scientist Steve Hannes marks high water marks along the Colorado River after flooding from Harvey in Matagorda County, Texas.
A small boat with scientific equipment loaded onboard resting near shore of a lake.
September 10, 2017
The Maine Office boat, "Miss Q", is parked next to the boat launch on Verona Island, ready to begin data collection on the Penobscot River. The crew was preparing to collect ADCP data (depth and velocity) as well as conductivity, temperature and depth profiles at various locations. In the background is the Penobscot Narrows Bridge and Fort Knox.
Hurricane Irma satellite image
September 5, 2017
Satellite Image of Hurricane Irma on September 5, 2017. Photo by NASA/NOAA GOES Project
Preparing to measure Irma's storm surge in Puerto Rico
September 4, 2017
Along the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, USGS hydrologic technician Francisco Almanzar surveys reference elevation points to ensure the accuracy of water level data. Almanzar and other USGS employees installed nine storm surge sensors along the coast on Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 4, 2017 as Hurricane Irma approached.
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientists Lisa Ashmore and Lee Bodkin collect water-quality samples on Lake Houston in response to the high flow conditions that resulted from Harvey.
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a streamgage
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Jimmy Hopkins repairs a streamgage downstream of Addicks reservoir at Buffalo Bayou after flooding from Hurricane Harvey. This gauge is normally accessed on land from a platform on the side of a bridge.
Image shows USGS scientists planning their water quality work on a whiteboard
August 31, 2017
A peek into a USGS planning meeting to coordinate water-quality sampling efforts in response to Harvey. This sampling effort is part of the federal government’s broad efforts to ensure public health and to support the state, tribal, and local response to the storm
August 31, 2017
Hurricane Harvey made landfall on August 25th. Over the next few days, record rain totals had devastated the area. At the USGS EROS Center, we study land change, operate the Landsat satellites, and maintain the longest, continuously acquired collection of images of the Earth's land surface. USGS EROS Center ( https://eros.usgs.gov/ )
Image shows a USGS scientist in a PFD servicing a water quality monitor on a lake
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout the storm.
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat throughout Harvey.
August 31, 2017
USGS scientist Lisa Ashmore services a water-quality monitor on Lake Houston. These instruments stayed afloat and collected data throughout Harvey.
Image shows USGS scientists in PFDs taking water quality samples from Lake Houston
August 31, 2017
A USGS field crew takes water-quality samples on Lake Houston following Harvey.
Filter Total Items: 344
Measuring Streamflow
May 11, 2017

Gary Moore spent the last three days of 2015 stacking hefty bags of sand in front of a fellow church member’s brick home. With only 1,000 feet between the house and the swelling Mississippi and Meramec Rivers, Moore and other volunteers worked quickly, in frigid temperatures, to assemble a 10-foot high, 1,000-foot-long sandbag wall to ward off floodwaters.

Image: Old Faithful Erupting
May 10, 2017

Despite two centuries of scientific study, basic questions persist about geysers—why do they exist? What determines their behavior?

USGS logo
May 3, 2017

A report published today by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Connecticut Department of Public Health, reveals that water from some private wells across the state has registered high levels of Arsenic and Uranium.

USGS hydrologic technician Christopher Rowden verifies the accuracy of streamgage information at the Jacks Fork River.
April 30, 2017

Reporters: Do you want to interview USGS scientists as they measure flooding? Please contact Jennifer LaVista.

Low-flying helicopter survey
April 27, 2017

Starting on May 2 and lasting for about two days, a helicopter towing a large, cylindrical sensor will make low-level flights over parts of Cedar Rapids as part of a groundwater survey.

Walker Lake on a Spring day
April 24, 2017

USGS model simulations suggest that Walker Lake will rise by as much as 15 to 18 feet this year, the most in a single year in recorded history.

Hydrologic Regions of Alaska
April 14, 2017

While freshwater ecosystems cover only a small amount of the land surface in Alaska, they transport and emit a significant amount of carbon, according to new U.S. Geological Survey research. An invited feature article for Ecological Applications provides the first-ever major aquatic carbon flux assessment for the entire state. Carbon flux refers to the rate of carbon transfer between pools.

This image shows a damaged street sign and flood debris left behind by record flood waters of the Blanco River near Martindale,
April 10, 2017

The new “Water On-the-Go” mobile app gives the public easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. This product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey to help raise water awareness during both floods and normal conditions.

Little Plover River Wells
April 6, 2017

Both irrigation wells and municipal wells affect flows in the Little Plover River near Plover, Wisconsin, stretches of which ran dry in past years, according to a new scientific report.

Looking northeast along the Bear River Duck Club Canal toward the Wellsville Mountains. 
April 6, 2017

A new report illustrates how groundwater pumping can affect the amount of water available in streams within the Malad-Lower Bear River Area in Utah. The product was developed by the U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Utah Department of Natural Resources, Division of Water Rights.

Bath Creek, Bath County, VA
April 4, 2017

USGS provides a long-term look at changes in the quality of our nation’s rivers and streams