Water Availability and Use Science Program

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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.

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Water Availability in the United States

Water Availability in the United States

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.

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News

Date published: November 8, 2018

Back and Forth: Ask Questions and Learn More About the Low-Level Helicopter Flying Above the Mississippi Alluvial Plain

Media:            Please join the U.S. Geological Survey, CGG Airborne, and various partners for a demonstration takeoff of the low-flying helicopter and description of what scientists are seeking in/around the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. Please RSVP to Heidi Koontz at 720-320-1246 or hkoontz@usgs.gov.

Date published: October 25, 2018

Seeking Water from Above: Low-Level Helicopter to Fly Above Mississippi Alluvial Plain

Editor:  In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project.  Your assistance informing the local communities is appreciated.  

Date published: October 15, 2018

Scientists to Measure Wood River Valley Groundwater Levels

Data Will Help to Improve Groundwater-Flow ModelData Will Help to Improve Groundwater-Flow Model

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Date published: October 4, 2018
Status: Active

Water Use in Wyoming

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has compiled estimates of water use in Wyoming and the rest of the United States at 5-year intervals since 1950.

Date published: October 4, 2018
Status: Active

Water Use in Montana

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has compiled estimates of water use in Montana and the rest of the United States at 5-year intervals since 1950.

Date published: August 15, 2018
Status: Active

Water-Use Terminology

The following terms have been used in one or more of the water-use publications. The comparison of water-use categories over the history of these reports may also help...

Date published: August 10, 2018
Status: Active

Changes in Water-Use Categories

Water-use terminology in the series of USGS water-use circulars, first published for the year 1950, has changed over time as illustrated here. Some categories were re-named but retained essentially the same definition, while other changes split existing categories or shifted components of one category to another. See the entries for these terms in the...

Date published: July 13, 2018
Status: Active

Effects of Aquatic Vegetation on Water Quality and Residence Time in the Bay-Delta

The spread of invasive aquatic vegetation in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is having a profound impact on the Delta’s natural habitat. The presence of these “aquatic weeds” has been shown to alter water velocity and increase water clarity,

Date published: October 3, 2017

Colorado Plateaus Regional Groundwater Availability

Pilot phase

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 (...

Date published: December 8, 2016
Status: Active

Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study

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...

Contacts: Howard W Reeves
Date published: December 3, 2016

Erosion and Invasive Saltcedar

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...

Date published: November 10, 2016
Status: Active

Glacial Aquifer - Contact Us

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...

Contacts: Howard W Reeves
Date published: October 5, 2016
Status: Active

Glacial Aquifer - Objectives and Scope

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.

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Date published: October 5, 2016
Status: Active

Glacial Aquifer - Current Activities

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.

 

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Date published: October 5, 2016
Status: Active

Glacial Aquifer - Relevance and Benefits

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,...

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Date published: September 26, 2018

Water Budgets Across the United States

In this data visualization, you can see how three major components of the water budget vary across the conterminous US. Precipitation is incoming rain and snow; evapotranspiration is outgoing evaporation from soil and water bodies and transpiration through plants; and runoff is excess water that makes its way to lakes and rivers through streams and spring discharges. 

Date published: April 18, 2016

National Water Census - Data Portal

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.

Date published: March 15, 2016

Water-use data available from USGS

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.

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Year Published: 2018

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.
Evenson, E.J., Jones, S.A., Barber, N.L., Barlow, P.M., Blodgett, D.L., Bruce, B.W., Douglas-Mankin, K., Farmer, W.H., Fischer, J.M., Hughes, W.B., Kennen, J.G., Kiang, J.E., Maupin, M.A., Reeves, H.W., Senay, G.B., Stanton, J.S., Wagner, C.R., and Wilson, J.T., 2018, Continuing progress toward a national assessment of water availability and use: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1440, 64 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1440.

Year Published: 2018

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.
Dieter, C.A., Maupin, M.A., Caldwell, R.R., Harris, M.A., Ivahnenko, T.I., Lovelace, J.K., Barber, N.L., and Linsey, K.S., 2018, Estimated use of water in the United States in 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1441, 65 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/cir1441. [Supersedes USGS Open-File Report 2017–1131.]

Year Published: 2018

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.
Maupin, M.A., 2018, Summary of estimated water use in the United States in 2015: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2018-3035, 2 p., https://doi.org/10.3133/fs20183035.

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.

Year Published: 2016

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.
Westerman, D.A., Gillip, J.A., Richards, J.M., Hays, P.D., Clark, B.R., 2016, Altitudes and thicknesses of hydrogeologic units of the Ozark Plateaus aquifer system in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5130, 32 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165130.

Year Published: 2016

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.
Lawrence, S.J., 2016, Water use in the Apalachicola-Chattahoochee-Flint River Basin, Alabama, Florida, and Georgia, 2010, and water-use trends, 1985–2010: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016–5007, 72 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20165007.

Year Published: 2016

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

Year Published: 2016

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.
McMahon, P.B., Böhlke, J.K., Dahm, K.G., Parkhurst, D.L., Anning, D.W. and Stanton, J.S., 2016, Chemical considerations for an updated National assessment of brackish groundwater resources: Groundwater, Issue Paper, 12 p., doi:10.1111/gwat.12367

Year Published: 2016

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.
Williams, L.J., Raines, J.E., and Lanning, A.E., 2016, Geophysical log database for the Floridan aquifer system and southeastern Coastal Plain aquifer system in Florida and parts of Georgia, Alabama, and South Carolina (ver. 1.1, December 2016): U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 760, 12 p., available at http://pubs.usgs.gov/ds/760/.

Year Published: 2015

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.
Williamson, T.N., Lant, J.G., Claggett, P.R., Nystrom, E.A., Milly, P.C.D., Nelson, H.L., Hoffman, S.A., Colarullo, S.J., and Fischer, J.M., 2015, Summary of hydrologic modeling for the Delaware River Basin using the Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (WATER): U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2015–5143, 68 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/sir20155143.

Year Published: 2015

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.
Williamson, T.N., and Lant, J.G., 2015, User manuals for the Delaware River Basin Water Availability Tool for Environmental Resources (DRB–WATER) and associated WATER application utilities: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2015–1196, 32 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ofr20151196.

Year Published: 2015

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.
Jones, Sonya, 2015, Progress Toward a National Water Census: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2015–3045, 2 p., http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/fs20153045. ISSN 2327-6932 (online)

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Date published: July 4, 2016

Water Use Site Retrieval - Lower Mississippi Gulf Arkansas

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.

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Trends in population and freshwater withdrawals by source, 1950–2015
December 31, 2018

Trends in population and freshwater withdrawals by source, 1950–2015

Trends in population and freshwater withdrawals by source, 1950–2015

Map of United States in Middle Pennsylvanian Time (about 300 million years ago).
December 31, 2018

Map of United States in Middle Pennsylvanian Time (about 300 million y

Map of United States in Middle Pennsylvanian Time (about 300 million years ago). (Source: USGS Bulletin 1291)

Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2015
December 31, 2018

Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2015

Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2015

Map of United States in Late Cretaceous Time (66 to 100 million years ago).
December 31, 2018

Map of United States in Late Cretaceous Time (66 to 100 million years

Map of United States in Late Cretaceous Time (66 to 100 million years ago).(Source: USGS Bulletin 1291)

Groundwater withdrawals in 2015
December 31, 2018

Groundwater withdrawals in 2015

Groundwater withdrawals in 2015

Brackish groundwater movement figure
December 31, 2018

Brackish groundwater movement figure

Brackish groundwater movement figure. (Source: USGS Circular 1262)

Surface water withdrawals in 2015
December 31, 2018

Surface water withdrawals in 2015

Surface water withdrawals in 2015

Seawater Intrusion Figure
December 31, 2018

Seawater Intrusion Figure

Seawater Intrusion Figure. (Source: USGS Circular 1262)

Public Supply Water Use in 2015
December 31, 2018

Public Supply Water Use in 2015

Public Supply Water Use in 2015

Development of geothermal saline groundwater into a warm-spring spa.
December 31, 2018

Development of geothermal saline groundwater into a warm-spring spa.

Development of geothermal saline groundwater into a warm-spring spa.
(Source: State of Florida Department of Natural Resources. Special Publication No. 21, 1977)

Domestic Water Use Withdrawals in 2015
December 31, 2018

Domestic Water Use Withdrawals in 2015

Domestic Water Use Withdrawals in 2015

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Date published: November 8, 2018

Back and Forth: Ask Questions and Learn More About the Low-Level Helicopter Flying Above the Mississippi Alluvial Plain

Media:            Please join the U.S. Geological Survey, CGG Airborne, and various partners for a demonstration takeoff of the low-flying helicopter and description of what scientists are seeking in/around the Mississippi Alluvial Plain. Please RSVP to Heidi Koontz at 720-320-1246 or hkoontz@usgs.gov.

Date published: October 25, 2018

Seeking Water from Above: Low-Level Helicopter to Fly Above Mississippi Alluvial Plain

Editor:  In the public interest and in accordance with Federal Aviation Administration regulations, the USGS is announcing this low-level airborne project.  Your assistance informing the local communities is appreciated.  

Date published: October 15, 2018

Scientists to Measure Wood River Valley Groundwater Levels

Data Will Help to Improve Groundwater-Flow ModelData Will Help to Improve Groundwater-Flow Model

Date published: June 19, 2018

Water Use Across the United States Declines to Levels Not Seen Since 1970

Reductions in water use first observed in 2010 continue, show ongoing effort towards “efficient use of critical water resources.”

Date published: March 12, 2018

Media Advisory: Water Levels to be Measured in 1,300 Southern Idaho Wells

Data Will Provide a “Snapshot” of the Eastern Snake River Plain Aquifer

Date published: February 27, 2018

Reservoir Sediment Can be Used as Fracking Proppant

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

Date published: December 1, 2017

Hundreds of Biological Data Available for Fountain Creek Basin, Colorado 

The U.S. Geological Survey just added more than 800 fish and macroinvertebrate data samples from Fountain Creek, Colorado, to the USGS BioData Retrieval system.

Date published: November 1, 2017

New USGS Study Tracks Millions of Tons of Rocks, Gravel and Silt Carried by the Sauk River

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.

Date published: September 14, 2017

New USGS Report Uncovers the Underground Geology Along the Rio Grande

A new U.S. Geological Survey report describes the below ground geology of the Rio Grande transboundary region of New Mexico and Texas, United States, and northern Chihuahua, Mexico.

Date published: June 16, 2017

USGS: High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline

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.

Date published: April 5, 2017

USGS Assessment of Brackish Water Could Help Nation Stretch Limited Freshwater Supplies

New USGS assessment provides fresh insights into nation’s brackish groundwater inventory

Date published: March 8, 2017

Understanding Managed Aquifer Recharge as a Water Storage Option in the Pojoaque River Basin

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.

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