USGS Groundwater Information
Groundwater Resources Program
New & Noteworthy
Press Release: High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline
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.
Contents | 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
The Ground-Water Resources Program (GWRP) has evolved from the RASA Program. The GWRP builds upon the Coop Program and other more localized studies to provide a more complete picture of the Nation's ground-water resources. The program is intended to update information from the RASA Program about the long-term availability of ground-water supply and also to address the environmental effects of ground-water development on land and surface-water resources. Geologic mapping capability by the NCGMP provides essential information on the geologic framework of ground-water systems, including development of new three-dimensional geohydrologic maps.
The GWRP is primarily focused on ground-water quantity and the effects of ground-water withdrawals on ground water and surface water, but also provides key information to complement NAWQA and other water-quality programs, particularly in the area of ground-water/surface-water interactions. For example, enhanced understanding of ground-water/surface-water interactions could lead to significant improvements in the design of water-quality monitoring networks and is needed to help identify when wells near streams are vulnerable to contamination by surface water (commonly referred to by EPA as "ground water under the influence of surface water").
In addition to the four programs highlighted above, the USGS has a wide range of capabilities in hydrology, biology, geology, and mapping to address ground-water resources in a fully integrated manner. For example, expertise in coastal geology enhances characterization of near-shore geologic environments for better understanding of saltwater intrusion and the discharge of fresh ground water to marine environments. Capabilities in remote sensing and land characterization provide key information for computer models and decision-support systems. Biological capabilities in habitats, wetlands, and instream-flow requirements are needed to assess the effects of ground-water development on surface-water systems. Expertise in climate improves understanding of the role of climate variability and climate change on ground-water resources.