Mission Areas

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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Filter Total Items: 138
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.

USGS Hydrologist working in winter on frozen river collecting samples.
September 21, 2016

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...

Ripples on Lake Richie near Portage Trail at Isle Royale National Park with tree growing strangely over water.
September 21, 2016

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...

The Water Cycle for Schools Poster
September 20, 2016

► 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...

Screenshot of the Michigan Lake Water Clarity Interactive Map Viewer
September 15, 2016

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...

Filter Total Items: 1,477
Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Basin and Range Basin-Fill Aquifers, southwestern United States

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water. The Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers constitute one of the...

Musgrove, MaryLynn; Belitz, Kenneth
Attribution: Water
Musgrove, MaryLynn, and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater Quality in the Basin and Range basin-fill aquifers, Southwestern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3080, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163080.

Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system, south-central United States

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water. The Coastal Lowlands aquifer system constitutes one of the important...

Barlow, Jeannie R.B.; Belitz, Kenneth
Attribution: Water
Barlow, Jeannie R.B., and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Coastal Lowlands aquifer system, South-Central United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3077, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163077.

Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system, eastern United States

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water. The Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system constitutes one of...

Lindsey, Bruce; Belitz, Kenneth
Attribution: Water
Lindsey, Bruce, and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Northern Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system, Eastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3078, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163078.

Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system, southeastern United States

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water. The Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system ...

Barlow, Jeannie; Lindsey, Bruce; Belitz, Kenneth
Attribution: Water
Barlow, Jeannie R.B., and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system, Southeastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3076, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163076.

Year Published: 2016

Groundwater quality in the Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers, eastern United States

Groundwater provides nearly 50 percent of the Nation’s drinking water. To help protect this vital resource, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project assesses groundwater quality in aquifers that are important sources of drinking water. The Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-...

Lindsey, Bruce; Belitz, Kenneth
Attribution: Water
Lindsey, Bruce, and Belitz, Kenneth, 2016, Groundwater quality in the Valley and Ridge and Piedmont and Blue Ridge carbonate-rock aquifers, Eastern United States: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2016-3079, 4 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20163079.

Year Published: 2016

Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change

Despite elevated summer insolation forcing during the early Holocene, global ice sheets retained nearly half of their volume from the Last Glacial Maximum, as indicated by deglacial records of global mean sea level (GMSL). Partitioning the GMSL rise among potential sources requires accurate dating of ice-sheet extent to estimate ice-sheet volume....

Ullman, David J.; Carlson, Anders E.; Hostetler, Steven W.; Clark, Peter U.; Cuzzone, Joshua; Milne, Glenn A.; Winsor, Kelsey; Caffee, Marc A.
Attribution: Water
Ullman, D.J., Carlson, A.E., Hostetler, S.W., Clark, P.U., Cuzzone, J., Milne, G.A., Winsor, K., Caffee, M., 2016, Final Laurentide ice-sheet deglaciation and Holocene climate-sea level change, Quaternary Science Reviews, 152, pp. 49-59, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.09.014

Year Published: 2016

Implementation and evaluation of a monthly water balance model over the US on an 800 m grid

We simulate the 1950–2010 water balance for the conterminous U.S. (CONUS) with a monthly water balance model (MWBM) using the 800 m Parameter-elevation Regression on Independent Slopes Model (PRISM) data set as model input. We employed observed snow and streamflow data sets to guide modification of the snow and potential evapotranspiration...

Hostetler, Steven W.; Alder, Jay R.
Attribution: Water
Hostetler, S.W, Alder, J.R., 2016, Implementation and evaluation of a monthly water balance model over the US on an 800 m grid, Water Resources Research, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016WR018665

Year Published: 2016

Crustal permeability

Permeability is the primary control on fluid flow in the Earth’s crust and is key to a surprisingly wide range of geological processes, because it controls the advection of heat and solutes and the generation of anomalous pore pressures.  The practical importance of permeability – and the potential for large, dynamic changes in permeability...

Gleeson, Tom; Ingebritsen, Steven E.
Attribution: Water
Gleeson, T., and Ingebritsen, S.E., eds., 2016, Crustal Permeability: Chichester, AGU/Wiley Blackwell, 451 p.

Year Published: 2016

Data on annual total nitrogen loads and watershed characteristics used to develop a method to estimate the total nitrogen loads in small streams

This USGS Data Release represents the data used to develop multiple linear regression models for estimating the loads of total nitrogen in small streams. Recursive partitioning and random forest regression were used to assess 85 geospatial, environmental, and watershed variables across 636 small (less than 585 square kilometers) watersheds to...

Kronholm, Scott C.; Capel, Paul D.; Terziotti, Silvia
Attribution: Water

Year Published: 2016

Nutrient and pesticide data collected from the USGS National Water Quality Network and previous networks, 1980-2015

The National Water Quality Network (NWQN) for Rivers and Streams includes 113 surface-water river and stream sites monitored by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) National Water Quality Program, National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Project. The NWQN includes 19 large river coastal sites, 44 large river inland sites, 30 wadeable stream...

Deacon, Jeffrey R.; Lee, Casey; Norman, Julia E.; Reutter, David C.
Attribution: Water
Jeff Deacon, Casey Lee, Julia Norman, and David Reutter, 2017, Nutrient and pesticide data collected from the USGS National Water Quality Network and previous networks, 1963-2016: U.S. Geological Survey

Year Published: 2016

Combined exposure of diesel exhaust particles and respirable Soufrière Hills volcanic ash causes a (pro-)inflammatory response in an in vitro multicellular epithelial tissue barrier model

BackgroundThere are justifiable health concerns regarding the potential adverse effects associated with human exposure to volcanic ash (VA) particles, especially when considering communities living in urban areas already exposed to heightened air pollution. The aim of this study was, therefore, to gain an imperative, first understanding of the...

Tomašek, Ines; Horwell, Claire J.; Damby, David; Barošová, Hana; Geers, Christoph; Petri-Fink, Alke; Rothen-Rutishauser, Barbara; Clift, Martin J. D.
Attribution: Water
Tomašek, I., Horwell, C.J., Damby, D.E., Barošová, H., Geers, C., Petri-Fink, A., Rothen-Rutishauser, B., Clift, M.J.D., 2016, Combined exposure of diesel exhaust particles and respirable Soufrière Hills volcanic ash causes a (pro-)inflammatory response in an in vitro multicellular epithelial tissue barrier model: Particle and Fibre Toxicology, 13:67, http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12989-016-0178-9

Year Published: 2016

Multireaction equilibrium geothermometry: A sensitivity analysis using data from the Lower Geyser Basin, Yellowstone National Park, USA

A multireaction chemical equilibria geothermometry (MEG) model applicable to high-temperature geothermal systems has been developed over the past three decades. Given sufficient data, this model provides more constraint on calculated reservoir temperatures than classical chemical geothermometers that are based on either the concentration of silica...

King, Jonathan M.; Hurwitz, Shaul; Lowenstern, Jacob B.; Nordstrom, D. Kirk; McCleskey, R. Blaine
Attribution: Water

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
USGS hydrologic technician Christopher Rowden verifies the accuracy of streamgage information at the Jacks Fork River.
April 30, 2017
USGS hydrologic technician Christopher Rowden verifies the accuracy of streamgage information at the Jacks Fork River at Eminence, Missouri.
April 12, 2017
Kathy Conn, a U.S. Geological Survey Water Quality Specialist, demonstrates a new USGS field method using a continuous flow centrifuge to collect suspended sediment from large volumes of water in the Duwamish River near Seattle Washington.
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.
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...
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)
Filter Total Items: 344
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

Center-pivot sprinkler in Nebraska.
December 14, 2016

The USGS National Water-Use Science project has documented 60 years of water-use from 1950 to 2010 in an interactive map.  Choose a year and pick a category to see how much water your state uses. 

Map of Northern High Plains Aquifer
December 13, 2016

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.

Photo of two of the main spring discharge points of Comal springs.
December 7, 2016

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.

Christian Schmidt
November 28, 2016

Former Montana Water Quality Administrator Begins Work in Boise