Cooperative Water Program
Cooperative Water Program Supports National Networks
The Cooperative Water Program provides the foundation for the Water Mission Area’s strong and robust water monitoring networks (quantity and quality), including, for example collection of data at more than 75% of the Nation’s 7,700 streamgages. Extensive efforts are made to secure continued operation of USGS streamgages; however, some are considered for discontinuation due to funding (see listing of threatened streamgages).
About 95 percent of the streamgages record and transmit data in real time and thereby address a myriad of issues, including real-time forecasting of rising stream levels and issuing of flood warnings by the National Weather Service to protect lives and property.
The Cooperative Water Program also supports groundwater level networks (including more than 8,000 observation wells) and real-time transmission, which is particularly important for water management during times of drought.
The Program supports water-quality collection at nearly 4,000 stream sites and wells.
Real-time water-quality monitoring of surface water and groundwater is increasing each year. USGS models linked to the real-time parameters, such as turbidity, are used to estimate other constituents of interest that cannot be measured in real time, such sediment and bacteria—information which is used by water suppliers to manage and regulate reservoirs and water withdrawals on a day-to-day basis.
Monitoring erosion with drones in South Dakota –Unmanned aerial systems, or drones, were used along the Missouri River in the summer of 2012 as it flows through the Lower Brule Reservation in South Dakota. The monitoring was geared to investigate the location and severity of erosion and the lasting impacts of cultural and environmental losses. In 2011, a drone was used to capture pictures of the same 7-mile stretch of river. The USGS and Lower Brule Sioux Tribe Environmental Protection Office will compare the shots from each year and look for changes. The Lower Brule Sioux Tribe estimates that up to eight feet of riverbank are eroding each year.
Water-quality super station in Florence, Illinois –A "multi-parameter, water-quality super station" has been recently implemented on the Illinois River at Florence, Illinois in cooperation with the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency, Illinois Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The station measures river stage, water temperature, pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, turbidity, nitrate, suspended solids, backscatter for sediment, sediment size and quantity, and phosphate. Much of the data are in real time; access data at: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/il/nwis/uv/?site_no=05586300&PARAmeter_cd=00400,00095,00010,00300,99133 (Contact: Paul Terrio, firstname.lastname@example.org, (217) 328-9736 and Gary Johnson, email@example.com, (217) 328-9720)