Water use in the United States in 2015 was estimated to be about 322 billion gallons per day (Bgal/d), which was 9 percent less than in 2010. The 2015 estimates put total withdrawals at the lowest level since before 1970, following the same overall trend of decreasing total withdrawals observed from 2005 to 2010. Freshwater withdrawals were 281 Bgal/d, or 87 percent of total withdrawals, and salin
Sustaining the quality of the Nation’s water resources and the health of our diverse ecosystems depends on the availability of sound water-resources data and information to develop effective, science-based policies. Effective management of water resources also brings more certainty and efficiency to important economic sectors. Taken together, these actions lead to immediate and long-term economic,
Sustaining the quality of the Nation’s water resources and the health of our diverse ecosystems depends on the availability of sound water-resources data and information to develop effective, science-based policies. Effective management of water resources also brings more certainty and efficiency to important economic sectors. Taken together, these actions lead to immediate and longterm economic,
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 (Burow and Belitz, 2014). The glacial aquifer system constitutes one of the important areas being evaluated.
After Hurricane Sandy made landfall along the northeastern Atlantic coast of the United States on October 29, 2012, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) carried out scientific investigations to assist with protecting coastal communities and resources from future flooding. The work included development and implementation of the Surge, Wave, and Tide Hydrodynamics (SWaTH) network consisting of more tha
High-water marks provide valuable data for understanding recent and historical flood events. The proper collection and recording of high-water mark data from perishable and preserved evidence informs flood assessments, research, and water resource management. Given the high cost of flooding in developed areas, experienced hydrographers, using the best available techniques, can contribute high-qual
About 130 million people in the United States rely on groundwater for drinking water, and the need for high-quality drinking-water supplies becomes more urgent as our population grows. Although groundwater is a safe, reliable source of drinking water for millions of people nationwide, high concentrations of some chemical constituents can pose potential human-health concerns. Some of these contamin
Mercury is a potent neurotoxin that accumulates in fish to levels of concern for human health and the health of fish-eating wildlife. Mercury contamination of fish is the primary reason for issuing fish consumption advisories, which exist in every State in the Nation. Much of the mercury originates from combustion of coal and can travel long distances in the atmosphere before being deposited. This
The Great Lakes (Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario) are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth and serve as an important source of drinking water, transportation, power, and recreational opportunities for the United States and Canada. They also support an abundant commercial and recreational fishery, are crucial for agriculture, and are essential to the economic vitality of the
The southern Chesapeake Bay region is experiencing land subsidence and rising water levels due to global sea-level rise; land subsidence and rising water levels combine to cause relative sea-level rise. Land subsidence has been observed since the 1940s in the southern Chesapeake Bay region at rates of 1.1 to 4.8 millimeters per year (mm/yr), and subsidence continues today.
This land subsidence he
This fact sheet describes the Water Science Strategy, presented in detail in Circular 1383-G, "U.S. Geological Survey Water Science Strategy--Observing, Understanding, Predicting, and Delivering Water Science to the Nation." This fact sheet looks at the relevant issues facing society and describes the strategy built around observing, understanding, predicting, and delivering water science for the
Aquatic biological communities, which are collections of organisms, are a direct measure of stream health because they indicate the ability of a stream to support life. This fact sheet highlights selected findings of a national assessment of stream health by the National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The assessment was unique in that it integrated t