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: 80
April 28, 2016

The Water Availability and Use Science Program (WAUSP) fulfills the Water Resources Mission Area's objectives to provide comprehensive water availability and use science to the Nation

Image: USGS Scientist Researching  Bakken Formation Water Samples
April 20, 2016

The USGS National Research Program (NRP), part of the USGS Water Mission Area, conducts research to develop and disseminate science-based information and tools needed for a fundamental understanding of the processes that affect the availability, movement, and quality of the Nation’s water resources. Our science supports a wide range of policies and activities.

Dog Lake, Yosemite National Park
April 20, 2016

Science to observe, analyze, and understand the movement and condition of surface water.

Image: USGS Scientists Monitor Animas River
April 20, 2016

Science to monitor and evaluate biological, chemical, and environmental factors affecting water quality.

National Groundwater Awareness Week
April 20, 2016

Science to discover and describe the location, condition, and behavior of water in the ground.

The water cycle diagram, especially made for school-aged kids.
April 14, 2016

Learn about water! As part of the USGS's Water Science School, we have created a water-cycle diagram for schools and "kids" of all ages, from 5-105. Our diagram is available in over 20 languages. We also offer an interactive diagram which...

The ecology teams quantitatively sample fish and mussels semiannually in the spring and fall
April 14, 2016

WaterSMART (Sustain and Manage America’s Resources for Tomorrow) is a program of the Department of the Interior that focuses on improving water conservation and helping water-resource managers make sound decisions about water use....

Flooded Pier at Assawoman Bay, MD
April 14, 2016

One of the critical roles that USGS personnel play in their day-to-day activities is to respond in a timely and professional manner to floods that can occur at any time of the year and for a variety of reasons. The Flood Science Capability Team examines the cause and effect...

Large River Science in MO River Basin
April 14, 2016

Expertise in large river research provides science information to inform decisions on river management and restoration in the Midwest Region. Connectivity is a fundamental concept in river ecology and refers to opportunities for water to flow along and through riverine ecosystems. It is considered one of the primary drivers of river productivity, biological diversity and ecosystem health.

Historic water tower in Chicago.
March 15, 2016

The Water-Use Open Forum allows those involved in water-use data collection, data management, and regulation to communicate about challenges and solutions to water-use data issues, such as data collection, storage, QA/QC, analysis and data dissemination.

Mobile River Basin Chart
September 22, 2014

The Mobile River Basin study is one of several NAWQA studies that began in Federal fiscal year 1997 (October 1996). Study planning and design, and analysis of existing data will be done during the first 2 years, which is consistent with all NAWQA studies. After the 2-year planning period, surface- and ground-water and biological data will be collected intensively for 3 years during a high-...

Low Flow Study Images
May 1, 2014

As part of their mission to protect public health and aquatic ecosystems, Alabama state agencies need accurate and representative streamflow statistics to establish realistic and applicable criteria for both water quality and water quantity (fig. 1). Historically, low-flow statistics, such as the annual minimum 7-day average flow that likely will occur, on average, once every 10 years (7Q10),...

Explore new publications and highlighted collections.

Filter Total Items: 1,333
U.S. national categorical mapping of building heights by block group from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data
Year Published: 2016

U.S. national categorical mapping of building heights by block group from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission data

This dataset is a categorical mapping of estimated mean building heights, by Census block group, in shapefile format for the conterminous United States. The data were derived from the NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Mission, which collected “first return” (top of canopy and buildings) radar data at 30-m resolution in February, 2000 aboard the Space...

Falcone, James
Genome sequence of the photoarsenotrophic bacterium Ectothiorhodospira sp. strain BSL-9, isolated from a hypersaline alkaline arsenic-rich extreme environment
Year Published: 2016

Genome sequence of the photoarsenotrophic bacterium Ectothiorhodospira sp. strain BSL-9, isolated from a hypersaline alkaline arsenic-rich extreme environment

The full genome sequence of Ectothiorhodospira sp. strain BSL-9 is reported here. This purple sulfur bacterium encodes an arxA-type arsenite oxidase within the arxB2AB1CD gene island and is capable of carrying out “photoarsenotrophy” anoxygenic photosynthetic arsenite oxidation. Its genome is composed of 3.5 Mb and has approximately 63% G+C...

Hernandez-Maldonado, Jaime; Stoneburner, Brendon; Boren, Alison; Miller, Laurence; Rosen, Michael R.; Oremland, Ronald S.; Saltikov, Chad W
Hernandez-Maldonado J, Stoneburner B, Boren A, Miller L, Rosen M, Oremland RS, Saltikov CW. 2016. Genome sequence of the photoarsenotrophic bacterium Ectothiorhodospira sp. strain BSL-9, isolated from a hypersaline alkaline arsenic-rich extreme environment. Genome Announc 4(5):e01139-16. http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/genomeA.01139-16
Estuary–ocean connectivity: fast physics, slow biology
Year Published: 2016

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.
Hydrogeology and hydrologic conditions of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system
Year Published: 2016

Hydrogeology and hydrologic conditions of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system

The hydrogeology and hydrologic characteristics of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system were characterized as part of ongoing U.S. Geological Survey efforts to assess groundwater availability across the Nation. The need for such a study in the Ozark Plateaus physiographic province (Ozark Plateaus) is highlighted by increasing demand on groundwater...

Hays, Phillip D.; Knierim, Katherine J.; Breaker, Brian K.; Westerman, Drew A.; Clark, Brian R.
Hays, P.D., Knierim, K.J., Breaker, Brian, Westerman, D.A., and Clark, B.R., 2016, Hydrogeology and hydrologic conditions of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5137, 61 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165137.
Special issue “The phreatic eruption of Mt. Ontake volcano in 2014”
Year Published: 2016

Special issue “The phreatic eruption of Mt. Ontake volcano in 2014”

Mt. Ontake volcano erupted at 11:52 on September 27, 2014, claiming the lives of at least 58 hikers. This eruption was the worst volcanic disaster in Japan since the 1926 phreatic eruption of Mt. Tokachidake claimed 144 lives (Table 1). The timing of the eruption contributed greatly to the heavy death toll: near midday, when many hikers were near...

Yamaoka, Koshun; Geshi, Nobuo; Hashimoto, Tasheki; Ingebritsen, Steven E.; Oikawa, Teruki
Yamaoka, K., Geshi, N., Hashimoto, T., Ingebritsen, S.E., and Oikawa, T., 2016, Special issue “The phreatic eruption of Mt. Ontake volcano in 2014”: Earth, Planets, and Space, v. 68, doi:10.1186/s40623-016-0548-4.
Atomic weights of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)
Year Published: 2016

Atomic weights of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)

The biennial review of atomic-weight determinations and other cognate data has resulted in changes for the standard atomic weights of 19 elements.

Meija, Juris; Coplen, Tyler B.; Berglund, Michael; Brand, Willi A.; De Bièvre, Paul; Gröning, Manfred; Holden, Norman E.; Irrgeher, Johanna; Loss, Robert D.; Walczyk, Thomas; Prohaska, Thomas
Isotopic compositions of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)
Year Published: 2016

Isotopic compositions of the elements 2013 (IUPAC Technical Report)

The Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (ciaaw.org) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (iupac.org) has revised the Table of Isotopic Compositions of the Elements (TICE). The update involved a critical evaluation of the recent published literature. The new TICE 2013 includes evaluated data from the “best...

Meija, Juris; Coplen, Tyler B.; Berglund, Michael; Brand, Willi A.; De Bièvre, Paul; Gröning, Manfred; Holden, Norman E.; Irrgeher, Johanna; Loss, Robert D.; Walczyk, Thomas; Prohaska, Thomas
Pure Appl. Chem. 2016; 88(3): 293–306
Deposition, accumulation, and alteration of Cl−, NO3−, ClO4− and ClO3− salts in a hyper-arid polar environment: Mass balance and isotopic constraints
Year Published: 2016

Deposition, accumulation, and alteration of Cl−, NO3−, ClO4− and ClO3− salts in a hyper-arid polar environment: Mass balance and isotopic constraints

The salt fraction in permafrost soils/sediments of the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica can be used as a proxy for cold desert geochemical processes and paleoclimate reconstruction. Previous analyses of the salt fraction in MDV permafrost soils have largely been conducted in coastal regions where permafrost soils are variably affected by...

Jackson, Andrew; Davila, Alfonso F.; Böhlke, John Karl; Sturchio, Neil C.; Sevanthi, Ritesh; Estrada, Nubia; Brundrett, Maeghan; Lacelle, Denis; McKay, Christopher P.; Poghosyan, Armen; Pollard, Wayne; Zacny, Kris
A dynamic leaf gas-exchange strategy is conserved in woody plants under changing ambient CO2: evidence from carbon isotope discrimination in paleo and CO2 enrichment studies
Year Published: 2016

A dynamic leaf gas-exchange strategy is conserved in woody plants under changing ambient CO2: evidence from carbon isotope discrimination in paleo and CO2 enrichment studies

Rising atmospheric [CO2], ca, is expected to affect stomatal regulation of leaf gas-exchange of woody plants, thus influencing energy fluxes as well as carbon (C), water, and nutrient cycling of forests. Researchers have proposed various strategies for stomatal regulation of leaf gas-exchange that include maintaining a constant leaf internal [CO2...

Voelker, Steven L.; Brooks, J. Renée; Meinzer, Frederick C.; Anderson, Rebecca D.; Bader, Martin K.-F.; Battipaglia, Giovanna; Becklin, Katie M.; Beerling, David; Bert, Didier; Betancourt, Julio L.; Dawson, Todd E.; Domec, Jean-Christophe; Guyette, Richard P.; Körner, Christian; Leavitt, Steven W.; Linder, Sune; Marshall, John D.; Mildner, Manuel; Ogée, Jérôme; Panyushkina, Irina P.; Plumpton, Heather J.; Pregitzer, Kurt S.; Saurer, Matthias; Smith, Andrew R.; Siegwolf, Rolf T.W.; Stambaugh, Michael C.; Talhelm, Alan F.; Tardif, Jacques C.; Van De Water, Peter K.; Ward, Joy K.; Wingate, Lisa
Bounded fractional diffusion in geological media: Definition and Lagrangian approximation
Year Published: 2016

Bounded fractional diffusion in geological media: Definition and Lagrangian approximation

Spatiotemporal Fractional-Derivative Models (FDMs) have been increasingly used to simulate non-Fickian diffusion, but methods have not been available to define boundary conditions for FDMs in bounded domains. This study defines boundary conditions and then develops a Lagrangian solver to approximate bounded, one-dimensional fractional diffusion.

Zhang, Yong; Green, Christopher T.; LaBolle, Eric M.; Neupauer, Roseanna M.; Sun, HongGuang
Zhang, Y, C.T. Green, E.M. LaBolle, R.M. Neupauer, ,and H.G. Sun, 2016, Bounded fractional diffusion in geological media: Definition and Lagrangian approximation, Water Resources Research, DOI: 10.1002/2016WR019178
Biodynamics of copper oxide nanoparticles and copper ions in an oligochaete - Part II: Subcellular distribution following sediment exposure
Year Published: 2016

Biodynamics of copper oxide nanoparticles and copper ions in an oligochaete - Part II: Subcellular distribution following sediment exposure

The use and likely incidental release of metal nanoparticles (NPs) is steadily increasing. Despite the increasing amount of published literature on metal NP toxicity in the aquatic environment, very little is known about the biological fate of NPs after sediment exposures. Here, we compare the bioavailability and subcellular distribution of copper...

Thit, Amalie; Ramskov, Tina; Croteau, Marie-Noele; Selck, Henriette
Thit A, Ramskow T, Croteau MN, Selck H. 2016. Biodynamics of copper oxide nanoparticles and copper ions in an oligochaete, Part II: subcellular distribution following sediment exposure. Aquat. Toxicol.
County fresh-water withdrawal water use allocated to relevant land uses in the United States: 1985 to 2010
Year Published: 2016

County fresh-water withdrawal water use allocated to relevant land uses in the United States: 1985 to 2010

This product is a series of six national 1-kilometer (km) raster datasets, for five year intervals between 1985 and 2010, representing USGS Water Use "Total Fresh Water Withdrawals", allocated to areas of land use representing anthropogenic use. Pixels representing anthropogenic uses (urban, agriculture, and mining land uses) are derived from the...

Falcone, James
Falcone, J.A., 2016, County fresh-water withdrawal water use allocated to relevant land uses in the United States: 1985 to 2010: U.S. Geological Survey data release, http://dx.doi.org/10.5066/F7DJ5CR5.

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: 632
October 2016 (approx.)
In this video we will outline the process of entering manual station information in the SonTek RSSL software. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
Flowing stream passing a streamgage with swirling leaves in the water
October 20, 2016
A beautiful capture of a streamgage at Bunnell Brook near Burlington, CT. A weir structure controls the height of the water, so a stable relation between stream stage and flow can be maintained. The gage house is the concrete structure in the photo, and has been used to collect streamflow data since 1931. Recent drought conditions have reduced the flow to a trickle, and daily streamflows in...
View of the Rio Brazos river with green trees and blue sky as the backdrop.
October 17, 2016
Hydrologic technician Lindsay Hastings took this photo of the Rio Brazos near Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico during her first field trip as a streamgager with the New Mexico Water Science Center. Did you know that New Mexico was the birth place of streamgaging? The USGS began collecting streamflow information in 1889 when the first streamgage was established on the Rio Grande in New Mexico, about 80...
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will discuss how to deal with invalid depths during data collection in the TRDI SxS Pro software. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will discuss how to edit vertical information during playback of a measurement in TRDI SxS Pro. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will demonstrate how to collect data at a station as part of an open water midsection ADCP measurement in TRDI SxS Pro. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will discuss how to import a TRDI SxS Pro measurement file into SVMobile. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will discuss the specifics of accounting for open water flow angles in the TRDI SxS Pro software. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will discuss some of the important data quality indicators you can use when collecting data in the TRDI SxS Pro software. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will demonstrate how to collect an ending edge as part of a midsection ADCP measurement in TRDI SxS Pro. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will discuss the Processing dialog in TRDI SxS Pro. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
September 2016 (approx.)
In this video, we will demonstrate how to collect data at a station as part of an under ice midsection ADCP measurement in TRDI SxS Pro. Note: Use of trade names is for descriptive purposes only, and does not imply endorsement by the USGS. For additional videos in this series, visit the following link: https://www2.usgs.gov/humancapital/ecd/hydrotube/hydrotube-ADCP.html
Filter Total Items: 292
Hydrologic technician Samantha Kephart.points out a high water mark
October 21, 2016

The heavy rains and storm surge Hurricane Matthew produced caused severe flooding in many parts of the south east, resulting in almost 40 peak flood records. As the flood waters continue to recede from some affected areas, the U. S. Geological Survey will continue its efforts to record this historic flooding. Click here to learn more about the work the USGS has completed for Hurricane Matthew.

Photo of scientists testing where methane goes once released into streams
October 17, 2016

First application shows majority of methane in study stream emitted to the atmosphere. 

USGS logo
October 17, 2016

A new study offers the most sophisticated analyses to date on how Los Angeles-area groundwater supplies are replenished. The analyses provide water managers with a clearer understanding of the sources and amount of available groundwater in the region – information that is important for planning and management of the vital resource.

Baltimore Harbor Water Wheel (aka “Mr. Trash Wheel”)
October 14, 2016

Online sites will provide the first real-time, user-friendly Inner Harbor water information

Photo of Flooding on Mississippi River in December 2015
October 13, 2016

An assessment of the flooding that occurred in the Meramec River Basin from December 2015–January 2016 is available in a new report from the U.S. Geological Survey. The report includes peak stages and streamflows, historical comparisons and flood-frequency statistics from the record flood.

This picture shows Spring Lake, NC, hit by flooding twice in two weeks.
October 12, 2016

Reporters: Want more information? Please contact Jeanne Robbins, jrobbins@usgs.gov, 919-571-4017 

Photo showing the Great Basin area
October 11, 2016

Large precipitation events that occur about every 10 years are a critical source of recharge for replenishing groundwater resources, according to a new study by the U.S. Geological Survey and the Bureau of Reclamation.

USGS logo
October 9, 2016

Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding or retrieve storm-tide sensors?

- In North Carolina, contact Jeanne Robbins, jrobbins@usgs.gov, 919-571-4017 

- In South Carolina, contact John Shelton, jmshelto@usgs.gov, 803-767-5542

- In Georgia contact Brian McCallum, bemccall@usgs.gov, 678- 924-6672

- In Florida contact Richard Kane, rkane@usgs.gov, 813-918-1275

This is a photograph of a storm-tide sensor used by the USGS to measure storm surge.
October 8, 2016

The U.S. Geological Survey is using many forms of technology to track and document Hurricane Matthew’s effects on the eastern seaboard. Here is an in-depth look at one of those tools, the storm-tide sensor.

To learn about storm sensors and see their location, explore the USGS Coastal Change Hazard Portal, or see satellite imagery before and after the storm, visit the USGS Hurricane Matthew page.

USGS logo
October 6, 2016

As the east coast prepares for Hurricane Matthew's arrival, the U.S. Geological Survey uses advanced models to forecast the coastal impacts Matthew could bring.