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: 119
Complicated groundwater drill rigs mounted on big trucks and their crew.
September 24, 2016

The National Water-Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) provides an understanding of water-quality conditions; whether conditions are getting better or worse over time; and how natural features and human activities affect those conditions. Regional and national assessments are possible because of a consistent study design and uniform methods of data collection and analysis. Monitoring data are...

Multiple Petri dishes with various water samples monitoring showing color differences for antibiotic resistance.
September 24, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts research on antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes. We have concentrated our studies on antibiotic-resistant bacteria of human-health concern, including vancomycin-resistant enterococci, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (...

Water Quality and a Petri dish with blue organisms.
September 24, 2016

Recreational water and industrial discharges are regulated by other federal and state agencies across the country. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts studies to understand the fate and transport of fecal indicator bacteria in surface and groundwater to aid state and federal partners. A variety of standardized protocols are used to...

Illustration of Relational Chart for Microbial Ecology
September 24, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) conducts ecological studies on the structure and function of eubacterial and archeal communities in the environment. Studies of this type give us basic information about the composition and functionality of different microbial communities and allow us to investigate the effects that natural and...

Collage of a drainage culvert and cows at a feedlot.
September 24, 2016

It is often important to understand the source of fecal indicator bacteria, pathogens, or chemicals that impair the normal use of water. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria and their genes, specific bacterial pathogens (such as E. coli O157:H7 which is primarily associated with cattle), and host-associated bacterial genes (such as human or animal specific Bacteroides genes), can be used to evaluate...

View of Silver Lake and Sand Dunes, Michigan with sunlight reflecting off of lake.
September 24, 2016

Recently, elevated chlorophyll-a concentrations were found related to persistent algal blooms on Silver Lake in Oceana County, MI.  Elevated chlorophyll-a concentrations, high phosphorus concentrations during summer months, as well as a decrease in water clarity indicated potential accelerated eutrophication processes during the last two years, and underscore a need to characterize water...

Monitoring set-up at the watersheds site which includes boards and such to direct water flow to drainage.
September 24, 2016

The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) was established to accelerate ecosystem restoration in the Great Lakes by confronting the most serious threats to the region, such as nonpoint source pollution, toxic sediments, and invasive species. Three Priority Watersheds have been targeted by the Regional Working Group's Phosphorus Reduction Work Group (Fox/Green Bay, Saginaw, and Maumee)...

River with blue reflection, in late summer, leaves just starting to turn from green to gold.
September 24, 2016

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...

Girls getting a glass of water at a well pump at The Tollgate House, Meridian Historical Village, Okemos, MI
September 22, 2016

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...

USGS Hydrologist examining water collection using specialized equipment.
September 22, 2016

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...

Mobile River Basin Study
September 22, 2016

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...

Bridge over river in late summer, trees just starting to change to fall colors.
September 21, 2016

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.

Filter Total Items: 1,463
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

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
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
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

Challenges with secondary use of multi-source water-quality data in the United States

Combining water-quality data from multiple sources can help counterbalance diminishing resources for stream monitoring in the United States and lead to important regional and national insights that would not otherwise be possible. Individual monitoring organizations understand their own data very well, but issues can arise when their data are...

Sprague, Lori A.; Oelsner, Gretchen P.; Argue, Denise M.
Sprague, L.A., Oelsner, G.P., and Argue, D.M., 2017, Challenges with secondary use of multi-source water-quality data in the United States. Water Research: vol. 110, p 252-261. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.watres.2016.12.024

Year Published: 2017

Arsenite as an electron donor for anoxygenic photosynthesis: Description of three strains of Ectothiorhodospria from Mono Lake, California, and Big Soda Lake, Nevada

Three novel strains of photosynthetic bacteria from the family Ectothiorhodospiraceae were isolated from soda lakes of the Great Basin Desert, USA by employing arsenite (As(III)) as the sole electron donor in the enrichment/isolation process. Strain PHS-1 was previously isolated from a hot spring in Mono Lake, while strain MLW-1 was obtained from...

McCann, Shelley; Boren, Alison; Hernandez-Maldonado, Jaime; Stoneburner, Brendon; Saltikov, Chad W; Stolz, John F.; Oremland, Ronald S.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

The chemistry and isotopic composition of waters in the low-enthalpy geothermal system of Cimino-Vico Volcanic District, Italy

Geothermal energy exploration is based in part on interpretation of the chemistry, temperature, and discharge rate of thermal springs. Here we present the major element chemistry and the δD, δ18O, 87Sr/86Sr and δ11B isotopic ratio of groundwater from the low-enthalpy geothermal system near the city of Viterbo in the Cimino-Vico volcanic district...

Battistel, Maria; Hurwitz, Shaul; Evans, William; Barbieri, Maurizio
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Estuary-ocean connectivity: Fast physics, slow biology

Estuaries are connected to both land and ocean so their physical, chemical, and biological dynamics are influenced by climate patterns over watersheds and ocean basins. We explored climate-driven oceanic variability as a source of estuarine variability by comparing monthly time series of temperature and chlorophyll-a inside San Francisco Bay with...

Raimonet, Mélanie; Cloern, James E.
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2017

Custom map projections for regional groundwater models

For regional groundwater flow models (areas greater than 100,000 km2), improper choice of map projection parameters can result in model error for boundary conditions dependent on area (recharge or evapotranspiration simulated by application of a rate using cell area from model discretization) and length (rivers simulated with head-dependent flux...

Kuniansky, Eve L.
Attribution: Water
Kuniansky, Eve L., 2016, Custom Map Projections for Regional Groundwater Models: Groundwater online early (DOI:10.1111/gwat.12450)

Year Published: 2017

The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation

“Photoarsenotrophy”, the use of arsenite as an electron donor for anoxygenic photosynthesis, is thought to be an ancient form of phototrophy along with the photosynthetic oxidation of Fe(II), H2S, H2, and NO2-. Photoarsenotrophy was recently identified from Paoha Island's (Mono Lake, CA) arsenic-rich hot springs. The genomes of several...

Hernandez-Maldonado, Jamie; Sanchez-Sedillo, Benjamin; Stoneburner, Brendon; Boren, Alison; Miller, Laurence G.; McCann, Shelley; Rosen, Michael R.; Oremland, Ronald S.; Saltikov, Chad W.
Attribution: Water
Hernandez-Maldonado, J., Sanchez-Sedillo, B., Stoneburner, B., Boren, A., Miller, L., McCann, S., Rosen, M., Oremland, R. S., Saltikov, C. W., 2016, The genetic basis of anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation: Environmental Microbiology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1462-2920.13509

Year Published: 2017

Salinity influences on aboveground and belowground net primary productivity in tidal wetlands

Tidal freshwater wetlands are one of the most vulnerable ecosystems to climate change and rising sea levels. However salinification within these systems is poorly understood, therefore, productivity (litterfall, woody biomass, and fine roots) were investigated on three forested tidal wetlands [(1) freshwater, (2) moderately saline, and (...

Pierfelice, Kathryn N.; Graeme Lockaby, B.; Krauss, Ken W.; Conner, William H.; Noe, Gregory; Ricker, Matthew C.
Attribution: Water
Pierfelice, K.N, B.G. Lockaby, K.W. Krauss, W.H. Conner, G.B. Noe, and M.C. Ricker. 2015. Salinity influences on above- and belowground net primary productivity in tidal wetlands. Journal of Hydraulic Engineering. DOI: 10.1061/(ASCE)HE.1943-5584.0001223

Year Published: 2016

Chapter 1: Hydrologic exchange flows and their ecological consequences in river corridors

The actively flowing waters of streams and rivers remain in close contact with surrounding off-channel and subsurface environments. These hydrologic linkages between relatively fast flowing channel waters, with more slowly flowing waters off-channel and in the subsurface, are collectively referred to as hydrologic exchange flows (HEFs). HEFs...

Harvey, Judson
Attribution: Water
J.W. Harvey, Hydrologic Exchange Flows and Their Ecological Consequences in River Corridors, In: J.B. Jones and E. Stanley, 2016, Stream Ecosystems in a Changing Environment, Elsevier, p. 1-83.

Year Published: 2016

Use of multiple age tracers to estimate groundwater residence times and long-term recharge rates in arid southern Oman

Multiple age tracers were measured to estimate groundwater residence times in the regional aquifer system underlying southwestern Oman. This area, known as the Najd, is one of the most arid areas in the world and is planned to be the main agricultural center of the Sultanate of Oman in the near future. The three isotopic age tracers 4He, 14C and...

Müller, Th.; Osenbrück, K.; Strauch, G.; Pavetich, S.; Al-Mashaikhi, K.-S.; Herb, C.; Merchel, S.; Rugel, G.; Aeschbach, W.; Sanford, Ward E.
Attribution: Water
Applied Geochemistry Volume 74, November 2016, Pages 67–83 Applied Geochemistry Volume 74, November 2016, Pages 67–83 Cover image Use of multiple age tracers to estimate groundwater residence times and long-term recharge rates in arid southern Oman Th. Müllera, , K. Osenbrückb, G. Straucha, S. Pavetichc, 1, K.-S. Al-Mashaikhid, C. Herbe, S. Merchelc, G. Rugelc, W. Aeschbache, W. Sanfordf Th. Müllera, , K. Osenbrückb, G. Straucha, S. Pavetichc, 1, K.-S. Al-Mashaikhid, C. Herbe, S. Merchelc, G. Rugelc, W. Aeschbache, W. Sanfordf

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: 770
Hydro techs clean a water quality sensor prior to deployment
2017 (approx.)
Hydrologic technicians Joe Beman, Hal Nelson, and Kate Allison, and course instructor Mike Nyman clean a water quality sensor prior to redeployment at a Water Quality Field Course put on by the New Mexico Water Science Center.
2017 (approx.)
The USGS Texas Water Science Center has developed a new mobile application called “Water On-the-Go” that gives people easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. The information reflects what is happening in streams near you at that very moment. Go to -- https://txpub.usgs.gov/water-onthego -- to see where waters are rising and how current conditions are changing around you. #...
Hydro techs record initial sensor reading prior to sensor cleaning and recalibration.
2017 (approx.)
Several New Mexico Water Science Center staff attended Continuous Water Quality Training, taught by Mike Nyman of the Texas Water Science Center and Lauren Sherson of the New Mexico Water Science Center. The course covered rationale for collecting continuous water quality data; field techniques for in-situ and continuous water quality data collection; and standard USGS waterquality data...
Hydro techs check water quality sensor calibration prior to redeployment
2017 (approx.)
Hydro tech Kate Allison demonstrates how to check a water quality sensor for calibration before being deployed at the Cochiti Dam in New Mexico.
2017 (approx.)
The USGS Texas Water Science Center has developed a new mobile application called “Water On-the-Go” that gives people easy access to current conditions in streams across Texas. The information reflects what is happening in streams near you at that very moment. Go to -- https://txpub.usgs.gov/water-onthego -- to see where waters are rising and how current conditions are changing around you. #...
Hydro techs inspecting water quality sensors at Cochiti Dam
2017 (approx.)
Hydrologic technicians Joe Beman and Hal Nelson remove a deployed sensor for cleaning and recalibration, as needed. This sensor is left in place to continuously log water quality parameters.
Scientist standing in streamgaging platform hanging over a river.
March 23, 2017
USGS Hydrologic Technician Kim Cesal measuring 3170 cfs at 12409000 Colville River at Kettle Falls, WA. This measurement is the highest made at the gaging site. The gage has been in operation since October 1922. The gage was installed to monitor flows from Meyer Falls Dam and Power Generation.
Microplastics sampling on Lake Mead
March 21, 2017
Sampling for microplastics on Lake Mead, March 21, 2017
snow and ice on Mohawk River at Lock 8
March 20, 2017
Mohawk River at Lock 8 near Schenectady, New York (01354330)
March 11, 2017
Caribbean-Florida Water Science Center, Davie Office, supported Broward County Watter Matters Day on March 11, 2017 as part of an outreach event to the public. http://www.broward.org/WaterMatters/Pages/ProgramsWMD.aspx
bridge over Mohawk River at Lock 8 dam
March 10, 2017
Mohawk River at Lock 8 near Schenectady (01354330) Live Ice Jam Web Camera
USGS hydrologic technician collecting data with ADCP from a cableway
March 9, 2017
USGS hydrologic technician Michael Allen collects streamflow data from the Boise River at streamgage station 13206000 using an acoustic Doppler current profiler.
Filter Total Items: 325
USGS Extensometer Drilling
January 18, 2017

Deep drilling in eastern Virginia will evaluate past effects of groundwater pumping, land subsidence, and relative sea-level rise. Future injection of water is expected to add pressure, expand the aquifer, and raise the land surface.

Photo of USGS scientist Robert Baskin deploying a side scan sonar in the Salton Sea, California. 
January 18, 2017

U.S. Geological Survey scientist Dr. Robert Baskin is being awarded with a 2016 Governor’s Medal for Science and Technology. Gov. Gary R. Herbert will present awards to 11 individuals and one company at the 30th anniversary awards dinner tonight.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler
January 12, 2017

You are invited to join USGS scientists and field technician crews as they collect discharge measurements in rainfall-affected areas.

USGS logo
January 12, 2017

Helpful new information for anyone designing structures over or near water, managing water distribution, or interested in the flow of local streams.

USGS: Science for a changing world
January 10, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center is hosting a media event Wednesday, Jan. 11 at a USGS streamgage location about 7 miles north of Santa Cruz, California. A hydrologist will be available for interviews as field crews collect streamflow data.

 

View of rapids on the ​Ocoee River in Tennessee with green trees in the background
January 9, 2017

Challenges remain in combining data from multiple organizations

Image: USGS Logo
January 8, 2017

The U.S. Geological Survey’s California Water Science Center is hosting a media event Monday, Jan. 9 at a USGS streamgage location below Friant Dam, a streamflow site with significance to the San Juan River Restoration Project.

A USGS hydrologist collects a water sample
December 21, 2016

Population Growth and Changing Land Uses Prompted Assessment

Photo of scientists conducting water chemistry tests for the San Pedro River aquifer. 
December 20, 2016

For the first time, information about the San Pedro River Aquifer is now available from both the U.S. and Mexico in a new, collaborative report issued from the International Boundary and Water Commission, the Mexican National Water Commission, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Universities of Arizona and Sonora.

USGS streamgage
December 19, 2016

10 New Streamgages Installed to Help Manage the Valuable Water Resources