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* HydroClimATe -- Hydrologic and Climatic Analysis Toolkit

* National Groundwater Awareness Week 2014

* National Brackish Groundwater Assessment

* Press Release: New USGS Tool Expedites Assessment of Seawater Intrusion in Coastal Aquifer Systems

* Press Release: Deficit in Nation's Aquifers Accelerating

* Press Release: New USGS Report Updates Decline of High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels

* Technical Announcement: How Does Groundwater Pumping Affect Streamflow?

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USGS Regional Groundwater Studies > Regional Groundwater Availability Studies

Regional Groundwater Availability Studies

Groundwater is among the Nation's most important natural resources. It provides half our drinking water and is essential to the vitality of agriculture and industry, as well as to the health of rivers, wetlands, and estuaries throughout the country. Large-scale development of groundwater resources with accompanying declines in groundwater levels and other effects of pumping has led to concerns about the future availability of groundwater to meet domestic, agricultural, industrial, and environmental needs. The challenges in determining groundwater availability are many.

The USGS Groundwater Resources Program (GWRP) is undertaking a series of regional groundwater availability studies to improve our understanding of groundwater availability in major aquifers across the Nation. Listed below are the completed and in-progress regional groundwater availability studies that implement the USGS strategy for conducting a national assessment as outlined in USGS Circular 1323:

Studies in Progress

Pennsylvanian and Mississippian Aquifer System of the Appalachian Plateaus

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Pennsylvanian and Mississippian Aquifer System study area.

Pennsylvanian- and Mississippian-age aquifers occupy approximately 86,000 square miles in the Appalachian Plateaus region of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee, Georgia, and Alabama. Groundwater in this aquifer system is essential for domestic supplies, energy resource development, and healthy aquatic ecosystems.

The USGS Appalachian Plateau Groundwater Availability Study will provide fundamental regional understanding of groundwater flow and availability in this Pennsylvanian- and Mississippian-age aquifer system. The Phase I activities of the regional study will:

  • develop a basin-wide hydrogeologic framework,
  • construct a regional hydrologic budget, and
  • assess conceptual models of groundwater flow at multiple scales.

A better understanding of groundwater availability in the Plateaus plays a central role in sustained economic development of the region. This study will provide important data that can be used by USGS and other federal, state, and local scientists, water-resource managers, and policy makers to assess drinking-water resources, aquatic ecosystems, and energy resource development in the region.

Learn more about this study:

  • Visit the study web site for a complete bibliography and more information


Back to table of contents.

Ozark Plateaus Aquifer System

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Ozark Plateaus aquifer system study area.

The Ozark Plateaus aquifer system underlies parts of southern Missouri, southeastern Kansas, northwestern Arkansas, and northeastern Oklahoma. Building on previous USGS Ozark Regional Aquifer System Analysis (RASA) work, the Ozark Plateaus Aquifer System regional groundwater availability study will:

  • quantify current groundwater resources,
  • evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and
  • provide the tools needed to simulate system response to future human and environmental stresses, including climate change.

The study will also provide information about changes in system-wide groundwater storage over time. The results of the study will be available for use by federal, state and local agencies to inform the evaluation and design of existing and new groundwater monitoring networks and other water-resource management decisions.

Learn more about this study:

  • Visit the study web site for a complete bibliography and more information.

Back to table of contents.

Hawaii Volcanic-Rock Aquifers

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Hawaii volcanic-rock aquifers study area.

The volcanic-rock aquifers in Hawaii supply water to 1.36 million residents, diverse industries, and a large component of the U.S. military in the Pacific. The aquifers of individual Hawaiian Islands are isolated by sea water and have limited capacity. Fresh groundwater resources in Hawaii are therefore particularly vulnerable to impacts from human activity and climate change.

The Hawaii Volcanic-Rock Aquifer Study will provide an updated assessment of groundwater availability in Hawaii; assess the current condition of Hawaii volcanic-rock aquifers and show how groundwater resources have changed as a result of natural and human stresses; provide a tool to assess responses to future stresses; and evaluate the adequacy of the current data network for assessing groundwater resources in the future.

The study plan includes defining the hydrogeologic framework, quantifying components of the groundwater budget, and developing conceptual models of groundwater flow for Kauai, Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. Additionally, the plan includes construction of three separate whole-island numerical groundwater models for Kauai, Oahu, and Maui. The models together with input from the groundwater budget will be used to assess changes in groundwater availability in Hawaii.

Learn more about this study:

  • Visit the study web site for a complete bibliography and more information

Back to table of contents.

Williston and Powder River Basins

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Williston and Powder River Basins study area.

The development of two nationally important energy-producing areas, the Williston structural basin (containing the Bakken Formation) and Powder River structural basin, provide a critical opportunity to study the water-energy nexus within a groundwater context. Large amounts of water are needed for energy development in these basins. The hydraulically connected aquifers in the regional Lower Teritary and Upper Cretaceous aquifer system are the shallowest, most accessible, and in some cases, the only potable aquifers within the Northern Great Plains.

The purpose of the Williston and Powder River Basins Groundwater Availability Study is to quantify current groundwater resources in this aquifer system, evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and provide tools to better understand system response to future anthropogenic demands and environmental stress.

Learn more about this study:

  • Visit the study web site for a complete bibliography and more information

Back to table of contents.

Glacial Aquifer System

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Glacial Aquifer System study area.

The glacial aquifer system is present in parts of 25 states. The glacial aquifer system contains the glacial sand and gravel principal aquifer, which is the largest water source for public supply and self-supplied industrial for any principal aquifer; it also is an important source for irrigation supply.

The Glacial Aquifer System Groundwater Availability Study will quantify current groundwater resources in the glacial aquifer system, evaluate how these resources have changed over time, and provide tools to better understand system response to future anthropogenic demands and environmental condition. The study is part of the Department of Interior WaterSMART initiative and will provide important information and analysis to stakeholders and decisionmakers in the study area.

Learn more about this study:

  • Visit the study web site for a complete bibliography and more information

Back to table of contents.

North Atlantic Coastal Plain Aquifer System

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of North Atlantic Coastal Plain Aquifer System study area.

The objectives of the North Atlantic Coastal Plain Groundwater Availability study are three fold: 1) quantify the current groundwater resources of one of the Nation's priority aquifer systems; 2) evaluate how this resource has changed over time; and 3) provide the tools needed to forecast how this aquifer system may respond to future human and environmental stresses. The focus of the North Atlantic Coastal Plain Groundwater Availability study is on improving fundamental knowledge of the water budget of this aquifer system, including the flows, storage, and use by humans and the environment. An improved quantitative understanding of the aquifer system's water budget not only provides key information about water quantity, but also is essential for assessments of water quality and ecosystem health.

Learn more about this study:


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Floridan Aquifer System

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Floridan Aquifer System study area.

The Floridan Aquifer System covers approximately 100,000 square miles in the southeastern United States in Florida and portions of Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and South Carolina. The overall objective for the current study is to assess the availability of water in the Floridan Aquifer System. Achieving this objective includes quantifying the groundwater resource by creating water budgets both spatially and temporally as well as evaluating the groundwater resource changes over time. Additionally, tools will be provided to assess the future impacts of humans and environmental changes (such as climate) on the Floridan Aquifer System and aid in designing groundwater monitoring networks. Note: This study was restarted in late fiscal year 2013 after a short hiatus.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:

  • Visit the study web site for a complete bibliography and to learn more.

Back to table of contents.

Completed Studies

High Plains Aquifer

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of High Plains Aquifer study area.

The High Plains groundwater availability study quantified current groundwater resources, evaluated changes in those resources over time, and provided tools to forecast how those resources respond to stresses from future human and environmental uses. The improved quantitative understanding of the basin's water balance provided by this USGS study not only provides key information about water quantity but also is a fundamental basis for many analyses of water quality and ecosystem health.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


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Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System study area.

The Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System (CPRAS) covers over 50,000 square miles of eastern Oregon and Washington and western Idaho. The USGS conducted a study of the Columbia Plateau Regional Aquifer System to characterize the hydrologic status of the system, identify trends in groundwater storage and use, and quantify groundwater availability.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


Back to table of contents.

Mississippi Embayment Regional Aquifer Study

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Mississippi Embayment Regional Aquifer study area.

A groundwater flow model of the northern Mississippi embayment was developed to aid in answering questions about groundwater availability in a study area covering portions of seven states (Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Missouri, and Kentucky).

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


Back to table of contents.

Great Basin Carbonate and Alluvial Aquifer System

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Great Basin Carbonate and Alluvial Aquifer System study area.

The Great Basin Carbonate and Alluvial Aquifer System Water Availability Study quantified current groundwater resources, evaluated how those resources have changed over time, and developed tools to assess system responses to stresses from future human uses and climate variability.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


Back to table of contents.

Central Valley Aquifer

 [Map: Study Area.]

Map of Central Valley study area.

For more than 50 years, California's Central Valley has been one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. Large increases in population have resulted in greater competition for water within the Central Valley and statewide. The USGS assessed the groundwater availability of the Central Valley and quantified the groundwater resources using a variety of tools. The ultimate benefit of this assessment will be a better understanding of how the system responds to current and future human and environmental stresses that will prove useful to water managers in their decision making process related to this valuable resource.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


Back to table of contents.

North and South Carolina Atlantic Coastal Plain Aquifer System

 [Map of study area]

Map of North and South Carolina Atlantic Coastal Plain Aquifer System study area (Map source: PP 1773).

Increased groundwater withdrawals related to population growth and drought of the last few years have emphasized the need for more accurate, detailed information describing the groundwater resources in the Coastal Plain in North and South Carolina. In January 2004, the U.S. Geological Survey began a study to combine and update the Regional Aquifer System Analysis (RASA) models of North and South Carolina in order to improve the understanding of groundwater availability in the North and South Carolina Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


Back to table of contents.

Denver Basin Aquifers

 [Map of study area.]

Map of Denver Basin Aquifers study area.

The Denver groundwater basin is an important and non-renewable source of water for municipal, industrial, and domestic uses in the Denver and Colorado Springs metropolitan areas. The USGS conducted a groundwater availability of the Denver Groundwater Basin to enhance our understanding of regional groundwater flow and aquifer storage, to evaluate current conditions, and to predict future conditions.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


Back to table of contents.

Middle Rio Grande Basin Study - Initial Proof of Concept Study

 [Map of study area]

Map of Middle Rio Grande Basin study area (Map Source: Fact Sheet 088-02 [3MB PDF]).

The Santa Fe Group aquifer system in Central New Mexico is the main source of municipal water for the region. The USGS Middle Rio Grande Basin Study was a 6-year effort (1995-2001) to improve the understanding of the hydrology, geology, and land-surface characteristics of the Middle Rio Grande Basin in order to provide the scientific information needed for water-resources management. This initial proof of concept study was conducted prior to the development of the strategy outlined in Circular 1323 and served as as a precursor to current GWRP regional groundwater availability studies.

Learn more about the outcomes of this study:


Back to table of contents.

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 26-Feb-2014 14:33:58 EST