New & Noteworthy
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
Journal Article: Review: Groundwater in Alaska
Technical Announcement: Groundwater's Greater Role in Waterways Demonstrated in Virginia
Technical Announcement: How Does Groundwater Pumping Affect Streamflow?
USGS Groundwater Watch
USGS maintains a network of active wells to provide basic statistics about groundwater levels.
Other Water Topics
USGS in Your State
USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.
| Introduction |
Importance of Ground Water to the Nation |
Evolving Ground-Water Issues and USGS Programs |
Relationship of GWRP to Other USGS Programs |
Current Activities of the GWRP |
Future Priorities for the GWRP |
Concluding Remarks |
A Report to Congress
November 30, 1998
Currently (1998), the Ground-Water Resources Program consists of five
primary activities, briefly described below:
- Middle Rio Grande Basin, New Mexico.--Studies by the New Mexico
Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources and the USGS in cooperation with the City
of Albuquerque have shown that ground water is not as plentiful as once
thought. Work is underway by the USGS to improve the understanding and the
accuracy of estimates of the quantities and distribution of water moving into
and through the ground-water system of the entire Middle Rio Grande Basin.
- Southwestern United States.--Surface water in the southwestern
United States is generally fully appropriated, and considerable ground-water
development has taken place. New water supplies increasingly rely on
conjunctive use of surface water and ground water. The dependence of sensitive
ecosystems on ground water creates further competition for scarce water
resources. To address these concerns, the USGS has begun a study of the
interaction of ground water and surface water in the Southwest (Figure
- South Florida.--Analysis of options for restoration of the
Everglades and Florida Bay depends on improved understanding of ground water
and its interactions with surface water. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers,
National Park Service, and South Florida Water Management District are using
information from USGS studies as they move toward restoration plans for the
- Atlantic Coast.--Development of ground-water resources along the
Atlantic coast has caused saltwater to intrude many highly productive aquifers.
Related concerns exist about the effects of changes in ground-water discharge
to coastal ecosystems. A project to review what is known about these
freshwater-saltwater issues along the Atlantic coast has recently begun.
- National Aquifer Data Base.--Preliminary planning is underway for a
digital data base on principal aquifer systems as a follow-up to the National
The Ground-Water Resources Program thus addresses a variety of information
needs. As the program transitions from its exclusive focus on the 25RASA
aquifer systems to broader issues, the above activities serve as prototypes for
the possible future activities described below.
Figure 5. Availability of an adequate supply of freshwater
is a significant issue affecting continued economic growth of cities and towns
in the Southwest, which also contains of the most productive agricultural lands
in the United States. Environmental considerations create increasing
constraints on water development. For example, perennial streams, springs, and
wetlands depend on ground-water discharge for their existence. In addition, the
effect of climatic variability on water resources, particularly on ground-water
recharge are not well understood and are a major deficiency in current models
used in water management.