Donald Bills


Don joined the USGS in 1978 as a hydrologic technician at the Flagstaff Field Office and is currently a senior hydrologist at the Flagstaff Science Center. His career arc has spanned basic data collection and processing of surface-water, water-quality, sediment, and groundwater data with forays into project work that included groundwater assessments, surface-water and groundwater interactions, and hydrothermal studies. On transitioning from a hydrologic technician to project hydrologist, Don continued to develop his project and hydrologic skills investigating the large regional aquifers in northern Arizona, providing water-resource assessment support to Native American Tribes in northern Arizona, as a team member and lead hydrologist for flow and sediment studies on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon, and as lead hydrologist for seepage investigations on the Colorado Plateau and in the Verde Valley. Don’s recent projects and interests include; ongoing evaluation of large regional flow systems and springs in Arizona and on the southern Colorado Plateau, hydrogeology and contaminate hydrology related to uranium mining in the Grand Canyon Watershed, and ground-penetrating radar and other geophysical investigations of hydrogeologic frameworks. In 2009, Don was appointed to a national team developing observation well and streamflow-gaging station abandonment guidelines for the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. In 2011, Don was selected as a team member for the Energy and Minerals Mission Area Strategic Science Planning Team.

Donald Bills is a senior hydrologist with over 34 years of experience in basic data programs and projects studying the surface water, groundwater, and water chemistry of Northern Arizona and the western US. Don’s recent works include regional groundwater flow and contaminate hydrology (uranium and trace metals) of the Grand Canyon watershed, geohydrology of large regional flow systems in Northern Arizona, and groundwater-resources assessment and development support for Tribal Lands in Northern Arizona. Don was one of several lead hydrologists for the USGS Glen Canyon Environmental Studies (GCES) Phase 1 and 2 on the Colorado River and its tributaries in the Grand Canyon (1983 to 1992). Don has also been a team member and lead hydrologist evaluating groundwater-surface-water interactions in the Middle and Upper Little Colorado River Valley, the Verde Valley, and Northwest Basin aquifers near Kingman. Don’s special interests are in large regional groundwater-flow systems and regional springs. Don has an interest in borehole and surface geophysics and is the AZWSC contact for Ground-Penetrating Radar data collection and analysis. Don has been the groundwater specialist for the Flagstaff office from 1980 to 1996 and was the Acting Flagstaff Field Office Chief for 9 months in 1987. In the 1990s Don worked on a number of short details including two months at the Idaho National Engineering Laboratory investigation migration of radionuclides in groundwater flow, and a number of GPR investigations in the Southwest and Pacific Northwest. Don has been the USGS representative to the Coconino Plateau Water Advisory Council since 2000. In 2009, Don was appointed to a national team developing observation well and streamflow-gaging station abandonment guidelines for the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act. He was appointed to the USGS Strategic Science Planning Team for the Energy and Minerals Mission Area in 2011. He has provided teaching support for hydrogeology and watershed hydrology at Northern Arizona University, Community Colleges throughout Northern Arizona, and the UofA Master Watershed Stewart Program since 1990. Don also provides technical review support for the technical journals JAWRA, Groundwater, and  Hydrogeology Journal.



BS, Physical Science, California State University-Chico, 1976.

Post-graduate study in hydrology, geohydrology, and water chemistry.

CSU-Chico, 1977.

Northern Arizona University, Post-graduate studies, hydrology, geohydrology 1979, 1980, 1982; No degree.


Professional Memberships:

Member, International Association of Hydrogeologists, since 2001

            Reviewer, Hydrogeology Journal, 2007, 2008


Member, the Groundwater Foundation, since 1996-2009


Member, American Water Resources Association since 1992

            Reviewer, Journal of American Water Resources, 1996-98, 2005-06, 2009-2012


Member, Association of Groundwater Scientists and Engineers, NWWA since 1992.

            Reviewer, Groundwater, 1996-97, 2002, 2009, 2011


Member, Arizona Hydrological Society since 1989.  Flagstaff Chapter Officer 1989- 2007. Corporate officer 1990-1991,1994-1996, and 1998 to 2005. Corporate Treasurer 1998-2002. Annual Symposium co-chairperson 2002 and 2005.


Member, Ground-Water Resources Association of California since 2003.


Member, American Geophysical Union since 2012.