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Richard G Niswonger

Richard Niswonger is a Research Hydrologist with the USGS Water Resources Mission Area.

Our research aims to better understand local and regional hydrologic processes affecting humans and the environment. Our focus is on the development of numerical software for simulating coupled hydrologic and anthropogenic effects on water resources. An example of the software we develop is the integrated groundwater and surface water model, GSFLOW that can simulate all of the important terrestrial hydrologic processes in watersheds. We combine GSFLOW with other software and diverse data types, including satellite imagery, geo-spatial data sets, hydrologic tracers and age dating, and many other quantitative and qualitative information that provides skill for hydrologic prediction. 

An important challenge of the 21st century is the global water challenge that is exacerbated by recent droughts and rapid population growth. Water shortages have led to increased reliance on groundwater and broad reductions in groundwater resources. As demands for water resources increase, our understanding of interconnections between the hydrologic cycle and our environment increasingly become more important. Moving into the future, approaches are needed for sustainable management of water resources in order to maintain robust water-dependent systems on earth. 


We use our tools to better understand the effects of climate change on water resources, and to develop collaborative solutions to surface and groundwater pollution caused by unsustainable withdrawals of water from aquifers, rivers and lakes. We develop and apply tools to increase efficiency of water and energy in agricultural systems using innovative scientific solutions. 

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