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: 94
Great Sand Dunes National Park.
October 26, 2016

Federal policymakers and land managers are accountable to the public for how they invest public funds and for the outcomes of the policy and management decisions they make. Through a variety of economic analyses and custom modeling, SEA economists evaluate how investments and management decisions affect individuals, local communities, and society as a whole....

Map of the extent of glacial deposits in the U.S. from Laurentide and Cordilleran
October 4, 2016

The Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study began in 2012 and will be completed in 2016. The glacial aquifer system groundwater availability study is one of the USGS efforts in response to the Department of Interior WaterSMART initiative. This study is designed to provide information and analysis to stakeholders and decisionmakers for characterizing groundwater availability...

Louisiana
September 29, 2016

Groundwater resources in northwestern Louisiana may be needed for development of natural gas production from the Haynesville Shale. Use of groundwater for hydro-fracturing of the shale may lower water levels and alter groundwater flow directions in the Carrizo-Wilcox aquifer and other local aquifers. Regional maps of aquifers in northwestern Louisiana are unavailable. The LaWSC, in cooperation...

Freshwater withdrawals and population in Alabama, 1960-2005
September 28, 2016

Since 1950 when the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) first conducted water-use compilations, important changes in water use have occurred in Alabama. The early part of the history (1950 to 1980) showed a steady increase in water use. During this time, the expectation was that, as the population increased, so would water use. Contrary to this expectation, reported water withdrawals declined...

Lower Tennessee River (LTEN) Basin Study
September 26, 2016

Welcome....the Lower Tennessee River Basin in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, and Mississippi 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...

USGS streamgage with Satellite antenna at the edge of river.
September 24, 2016

The USGS in Michigan-in cooperation with local, State, Tribal, and Federal partners-operates 155 streamgages recording stage and streamflow, and 13 lake-level gages. There are about 7,400 streamgages nationwide; many of these gages provide real-time data in 15-minute increments, which typically are transmitted to the World Wide Web every 1 to 2 hours using satellite, telephone, or cellular...

USGS technician monitoring a low flow in a stream while standing on a pebble island in stream in summer.
September 24, 2016

Data on low-flow characteristics are used by water-resources managers for a variety of purposes, including water-supply planning, making decisions about wastewater-discharge and water withdrawal permits, and evaluating in-stream flow requirements. The Michigan low-flow network currently consists of seven sites where streamflow is typically measured only during low-flow periods. In addition to...

USGS Water-Quality equipment with cover opened at edge of river near a footbridge.
September 24, 2016

The USGS operates a network of real-time water-quality monitoring stations that measure up to five physical parameters. The parameters are temperature, specific conductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity. One to four of those parameters are measured at 26 sites, while all five parameters are measured at 13 sites. These data are used for decision making about hydroelectric power...

Crest-Stage Streamgage equipment set up at edge of a stream.
September 24, 2016

Historically, small streams with drainage areas less than 100 square miles have not been adequately represented in regional peak- (high) flow analysis. In Michigan, USGS operates 24 traditional crest-stage gages, where stage and streamflow is only measured during high flows, and 6 continuous-record crest-stage gages, where cooperators can continually monitor stage and USGS maintains a high-...

Equipment is fixed-location acoustic Doppler velocity meters at Connecting Channels
September 24, 2016

In response to decreasing water levels in the Great Lakes, especially Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, the International Upper Great Lakes Study (IUGLS) asked USGS to continuously measure flows in the connecting channels of St. Marys, St. Clair, and Detroit Rivers, and Water Survey Canada (WSC) to measure flows of Niagara River. To accommodate the effects of variable backwater and the...

Collage of three printouts of DNA sequencing of Pathogens.
September 24, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Michigan Bacteriological Research Laboratory (MI-BaRL) studies the source, occurrence, and distribution of the bacterial pathogens Shiga-toxin producing E. coli (STEC), Salmonella, Shigella, Campylobacter, Enterococcus, and Staphylococcus and the relation of occurrence of pathogens with fecal indicator bacteria, land-use, season, hydrology, geology, weather...

Color Illustration of Avian Botulism transport through species
September 24, 2016

Botulism outbreaks occur within the Great Lakes and often result in significant bird die offs. It is believed that Clostridium botulinum is the reason for these die offs and the trophic pathways that this organism travels are of interest to understanding its place within the food web. The GLRI Avian Botulism Project is investigating six different matrices: sediment, Cladophora, invertebrates,...

Filter Total Items: 1,460
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

Year Published: 2017

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.
Attribution: Water
Rosecrans, C.Z., Nolan, B.T., Gronberg, J.M., 2017, Predicted pH at the domestic and public supply drinking water depths, Central Valley, California: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map 3377, 1 sheet, scale 1:2,400,000, https://doi.org/10.3133/sim3377.

Year Published: 2017

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.
Attribution: Water
Rosecrans, C.Z., Nolan, B.T., Gronberg J.M., 2017. Prediction and Visualization of Redox Conditions in the Groundwater of Central Valley, California. Journal of Hydrology, v. 546 (March), p. 341-356. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.01.014

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: 761
York River in York County, Virginia
June 27, 2017
The York River, looking across the bridge to York, Virginia.
Young Boy Fishing
June 24, 2017
A young boy fishing in a lake in Albemarle County, Virginia.
Johanna Blake demonstrates how to use a water quality sonde
June 21, 2017
USGS NMWSC Hydrologists Johanna Blake and Jeb Brown attended the 2nd Annual Conference on Environmental Conditions of the Animas and San Juan Watersheds with Emphasis on Gold King Mine and other Mine Waste Issues in Farmington, NM from June 20-21. Johanna and Jeb presented on the USGS long-term monitoring work of continuous monitoring sondes, water quality, and sediment measurement. On June 22nd...
Hydrologists doing field work near Farmington, NM
June 20, 2017
USGS NMWSC Hydrologists Johanna Blake and Jeb Brown attended the 2nd Annual Conference on Environmental Conditions of the Animas and San Juan Watersheds with Emphasis on Gold King Mine and other Mine Waste Issues in Farmington, NM from June 20-21. Johanna and Jeb presented on the USGS long-term monitoring work of continuous monitoring sondes, water quality, and sediment measurement. On June 22nd...
Vandens apytakos ratas mokykloms - The Water Cycle, Lithuanian
June 2, 2017
Vandens apytakos ratas mokykloms The Water Cycle for Schools, Lithuanian Jungtinių Amerikos Valstijų Geologijos tarnyba (USGS) ir Jungtinių Tautų Maisto ir žemės ūkio organizacija (FAO) sukūrė vandens apytakos rato plakatą mokykloms The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for schools. •...
Vannets Kretsløp for Barn - The Water Cycle, Norwegian
June 2, 2017
Vannets Kretsløp for Barn The Water Cycle for Schools, Norwegian Amerikas geologiske undersøkelse (USGS) og FNs mat og jordbruksorganisasjon (FAO) har gått sammen for å lage en plakat om vannets kretsløp for barn opp til ungdomsskolealder. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for...
O Ciclo d'água para Crianças  - The Water Cycle for Kids, Portuguese
June 2, 2017
O Ciclo d'água para Crianças - The Water Cycle for Kids, Portuguese O Serviço Geológico dos Estados Unidos (em inglês, U.S. Geological Survey, conhecido pela sigla USGS) e a Organização das Nações Unidas para Agricultura e Alimentação (em inglês, Food and Agriculture Organization, instituição conhecida pela sigla FAO) uniram-se para criar um diagrama didático e divertido sobre o ciclo d'água,...
어린이를 위한 물의 순환 - The Water Cycle for Kids, Korean
June 2, 2017
어린이를 위한 물의 순환 - The Water Cycle for Kids, Korean 어린이와 초등 중학생을 위해 물의 순환과정을 설명한 이 그림은 미국 지질조사국 (USGS) 과 국제연합식량농업기구 (FAO) 가 함께 만들었습니다 • https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercycle-kids-korean.html • https://water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclekorean.html Learn About Water! The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-...
Kitaran Air Untuk Kanak-Kanak - The Water Cycle for Schools, Malay
June 2, 2017
Kitaran Air Untuk Kanak-Kanak - The Water Cycle for Schools, Malay The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for schools. It is available in over 20 languages and also in an interactive version made for online viewing and investigating . Learn About Water! This diagram is a small part of...
The Water Cycle for Kids, Persian          چرخه آب براي كودكان
June 2, 2017
The Water Cycle for Kids, Persian چرخه آب براي كودكان The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for schools. It is available in over 20 languages and also in an interactive version made for online viewing and investigating . Learn About Water! This diagram is a small part of USGS's Water...
2017 (approx.)
The Arizona Water Science Center demonstrates new methods in Reach-Scale Monitoring to improve accuracy and measurability of high flow events. By installing pressure transducers and using LiDAR to measure topography data, hydrologists are able to simulate flows with two dimensional models which will help better calibrate stream gages. These advances have potential to aid in gathering important...
Oběh vody pro děti - The water cycle, Czech
May 25, 2017
Oběh vody pro děti - The water cycle, Czech U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) a Organizace pro výživu a zemědělství pŕi OSN vytvořily schéma oběhu vody pro děti a základní a střední školy. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have teamed up to create a water-cycle diagram for schools. It is available in over 20 languages and also in...
Filter Total Items: 323
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

Image: Harmful Algal Blooms
March 31, 2017

Two decades of harmful algal bloom, nutrient and sediment research by the U.S. Geological Survey is helping to support Wichita’s long-term vision of a sustainable water supply into the future. Early warning indicators of harmful algal blooms have been developed for Cheney Reservoir, Kansas, according to a new USGS publication done in cooperation with the City of Wichita, Kansas.

Image: Redwater River, South Dakota
March 27, 2017

Media and the public are invited to attend a free meeting about South Dakota water issues on Thursday, April 6, in Rapid City, South Dakota. 

Santa Cruz River
March 27, 2017

Desert communities throughout the Southwest are putting water availability at the top of their municipal agendas.

Lake Mead
March 15, 2017

The Colorado River system provides about 35 million Americans with a portion of their water supply. It irrigates 5½ million acres of land in the West and provides water to tribes, parks, and wildlife. The system serves parts of seven States and Mexico—but reservoir levels have crept lower over the past several years, sparking questions about how much water remains and who will have access.

Chinook Salmon
March 13, 2017

The water in the Delta arrives primarily from the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers, supplying water for more than 22 million people. This water source supports California’s trillion-dollar economy—the sixth largest in the world—and its $27 billion agricultural industry.

Image: Oklahoma Groundwater Efforts
March 9, 2017

Groundwater, which flows out of sight through aquifers beneath our feet, is one of the Nation’s most important natural resources. In recognition of National Groundwater Awareness Week, March 5–11, 2017, here’s an opportunity to put your knowledge of this vital resource to the test!

mount hood
March 8, 2017

Our lunchtime "brownbag" seminars are held Tuesdays from 12pm to 1 pm PT. The science lectures are held at the USGS Oregon Water Science Center at 2130 SW 5th Avenue in Portland, OR. The presentations are informal and are open to the public. Please, bring your lunch.

USGS: Science for a changing world
March 8, 2017

In order to provide long-term storage of diverted surface water from the Rio Grande as part of the Aamodt water rights settlement, managed aquifer recharge by surface infiltration in Pojoaque River Basin arroyos was proposed as an option.