Water Availability and Use Science Program
Programs L2 Landing Page
Program goals: provide a more accurate assessment of the status of the water resources of the U.S., assist in the determination of the quantity and quality of water that is available for beneficial uses, identify long-term trends in water availability, and develop the basis for an improved ability to forecast the availability of water for economic, energy production, and environmental uses.Website
This study is in a pilot phase during fiscal years 2017 and 2018. The purpose of the pilot phase is to identify possible technical challenges of using the USGS code GSFLOW for simulating groundwater and surface-water flow in the Colorado Plateau principal aquifer system. During the pilot phase, the project will evaluate GSFLOW in the San Juan River Basin (...
The glacial aquifer system is present in parts of 26 states and is subject to a range of climatic conditions from humid to semi-arid. Groundwater availability in the system may be constrained by climatic conditions, poor water quality, hydrogeology, concerns of conflicts with current groundwater users, or the desire to maintain or restore environmental streamflows.
The Glacial Aquifer...
Formation of arroyos in the late 1800s greatly increased erosion across the southwestern United States. Since the 1930s, however, this erosion has decreased, partly because of bank stabilization by introduced saltcedar. With Isleta Pueblo Indian Nation, the Aquatic Systems Branch developed a new sediment dating method using saltcedar tree rings. We applied the method in a landmark study of...
Several Research areas are listed and their contacts regarding Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study are available here.
<- Back to main Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study...
The overall goal of this study is to assess groundwater availability in the glacial aquifer system. The primary objectives are to quantify current groundwater resources, evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and provide the tools needed to forecast system response to future anthropogenic and environmental stresses.
<- Back to main...
Preliminary work for the study began in the summer of 2011. The project is planned for 2012-16, and the study will be conducted by a team of researchers from several USGS Science Centers across the study area.
<- Back to main...
The glacial aquifer system groundwater availability study is a regional study of the USGS Groundwater Resources Program. These regional studies form the basis for the groundwater assessments within a national Water Census. Groundwater is one of the most important natural resources of the nation. It provides half our drinking water and is essential to the vitality of agriculture and industry,...
The USGS compiles water use information by State including estimated amounts, sources, and categories of use every five years since 1950.
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.
Cooperative matching funds bring local, State, and Tribal water science needs and decision-making together with USGS national capabilities related to USGS nationally consistent methods and quality assurance; innovative monitoring technology, models, and analysis tools; and robust data management and delivery systems.
The National Water Census is a USGS research program on national water availability and use that develops new water accounting tools and assesses water availability at the regional and national scales. Through the Water Census, USGS is integrating diverse research on water availability and use and enhancing the understanding of connection between water quality and water availability.
At the National Water Census Data Portal you will find national estimates of water budget components for local watersheds, water withdrawal data for counties, tools to calculate statistics of daily streamflow records, modeled daily streamflow at ungaged stations, and access to records of aquatic biology observations.
The U.S. Geological Survey compiles water-use estimates every five years for each State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Archived datasets underlying the published "Estimated Use of Water in the United States" reports are available. Data incorporating any revisions can be found on NWISWeb.
Continuing progress toward a national assessment of water availability and use
Executive SummaryThe Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111—11) was passed into law on March 30, 2009. Subtitle F, also known as the SECURE Water Act, calls for the establishment of a “national water availability and use assessment program” within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS issued the first report on the...Evenson, Eric J.; Jones, Sonya A.; Barber, Nancy L.; Barlow, Paul M.; Blodgett, David L.; Bruce, Breton W.; Douglas-Mankin, Kyle; Farmer, William H.; Fischer, Jeffrey M.; Hughes, William B.; Kennen, Jonathan G.; Kiang, Julie E.; Maupin, Molly A.; Reeves, Howard W.; Senay, Gabriel B.; Stanton, Jennifer S.; Wagner, Chad R.; Wilson, Jennifer T.
Estimated use of water in the United States in 2015
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...Dieter, Cheryl A.; Maupin, Molly A.; Caldwell, Rodney R.; Harris, Melissa A.; Ivahnenko, Tamara I.; Lovelace, John K.; Barber, Nancy L.; Linsey, Kristin S.
Summary of estimated water use in the United States in 2015
A total of 322 Bgal/d of water withdrawals was reported for eight categories of use in the United States in 2015, which was 9 percent less than in 2010 (354 Bgal/d), and continued a declining trend since 2005. The decline in total withdrawals in 2015 primarily was caused by significant decreases (28.8 Bgal/d) in thermoelectric power, which...Maupin, Molly A.
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.
Altitudes and thicknesses of hydrogeologic units of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma
A hydrogeologic framework was constructed to represent the altitudes and thicknesses of hydrogeologic units within the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system as part of a regional groundwater-flow model supported by the U.S. Geological Survey Water Availability and Use Science Program. The Ozark Plateaus aquifer system study area is nearly 70,000 square...Westerman, Drew A.; Gillip, Jonathan A.; Richards, Joseph M.; Hays, Phillip D.; Clark, Brian R.
Water use in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, 2010, and water-use trends, 1985-2010
The Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint (ACF) River Basin encompasses about 20,230 square miles in parts of Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. Increasing population growth and agricultural production from the 1970s to 2010 has prompted increases in water-resources development and substantially increased water demand in the basin. Since the 1980s, Alabama...Lawrence, Stephen J.
Evaluating Landsat 8 evapotranspiration for water use mapping in the Colorado River Basin
Evapotranspiration (ET) mapping at the Landsat spatial resolution (100 m) is essential to fully understand water use and water availability at the field scale. Water use estimates in the Colorado River Basin (CRB), which has diverse ecosystems and complex hydro-climatic regions, will be helpful to water planners and managers. Availability of...Senay, Gabriel; Friedrichs, MacKenzie O.; Singh, Ramesh K.; Velpuri, Naga Manohar
Chemical considerations for an updated National assessment of brackish groundwater resources
Brackish groundwater (BGW) is increasingly used for water supplies where fresh water is scarce, but the distribution and availability of such resources have not been characterized at the national scale in the United States since the 1960s. Apart from its distribution and accessibility, BGW usability is a function of the chemical requirements of...McMahon, Peter B.; Böhlke, John Karl; Dahm, Katharine; Parkhurst, David L.; Anning, David W.; Stanton, Jennifer S.
Geophysical log database for the Floridan aquifer system and southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system in Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina
A database of borehole geophysical logs and other types of data files were compiled as part of ongoing studies of water availability and assessment of brackish- and saline-water resources. The database contains 4,883 logs from 1,248 wells in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, South Carolina, and from a limited number of offshore wells of the eastern Gulf...Williams, Lester J.; Raines, Jessica E.; Lanning, Amanda E.
Summary of hydrologic modeling for the Delaware River Basin using the Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER)
The Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER) is a decision support system for the nontidal part of the Delaware River Basin that provides a consistent and objective method of simulating streamflow under historical, forecasted, and managed conditions. In order to quantify the uncertainty associated with these simulations, however...Williamson, Tanja N.; Lant, Jeremiah G.; Claggett, Peter; Nystrom, Elizabeth A.; Milly, Paul C.D.; Nelson, Hugh L.; Hoffman, Scott A.; Colarullo, Susan J.; Fischer, Jeffrey M.
User manuals for the Delaware River Basin Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (DRB–WATER) and associated WATER application utilities
The Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER) is a decision support system (DSS) for the nontidal part of the Delaware River Basin (DRB) that provides a consistent and objective method of simulating streamflow under historical, forecasted, and managed conditions. WATER integrates geospatial sampling of landscape characteristics,...Williamson, Tanja N.; Lant, Jeremiah G.
Progress toward a National Water Census
Increasing demand and competition for limited regional water resources make it difficult to ensure adequate water availability for both human and ecological needs now and into the future. Recognizing the need to improve the tools and information that are available to effectively evaluate water-resource availability, the U.S. Geological Survey (...Jones, Sonya A.
In 1977, the Congress of the United States recognized the need for uniform, current, and reliable information on water use and directed the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to establish a National Water-Use Information Program (NWUIP) to complement the Survey's data on the availability and quality of the Nations water resources.
Trends in population and freshwater withdrawals by source, 1950–2015
Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2015
Reductions in water use first observed in 2010 continue, show ongoing effort towards “efficient use of critical water resources.”
Data Will Provide a “Snapshot” of the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer
Instead of requiring costly dredging to remove sediment buildup behind water reservoirs and diversions, sediment from reservoirs in the Missouri River Basin could actually be used as fracking proppant feedstock, also known as frac sand, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey study.
TACOMA, Wash. — The U.S. Geological Survey recently published the results of a new five-year suspended-sediment and water temperature study from the Sauk River. The purpose of this study is to improve understanding of the magnitude and timing of suspended sediment from the Sauk River and its tributaries to the Skagit River.
The U.S. Geological Survey has released a new report detailing changes of groundwater levels in the High Plains aquifer. The report presents water-level change data in the aquifer for two separate periods: from 1950 – the time prior to significant groundwater irrigation development – to 2015, and from 2013 to 2015.
New USGS assessment provides fresh insights into nation’s brackish groundwater inventory
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.
New USGS Map of High Plains Aquifer Represents Conditions After Enacting Changes To Agricultural Management Practices
Water-level changes from 2002 to 2015 were examined in wells screened in the High Plains aquifer within the Republican River Basin and the results are now available in a new U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Map.
A new U.S. Geological Survey publication and model can be applied by multiple entities to better understand flow, quantity, sources and sinks of groundwater in the Northern High Plains Aquifer, which covers approximately 100,000 square miles across Nebraska, South Dakota, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.
Reporters: Do you want to accompany a USGS field crew as they measure flooding? Please contact Jason McVay at 319-430-6962.