USGS Groundwater Information
New & Noteworthy
USGS Groundwater Watch
USGS maintains a network of active wells to provide basic statistics about groundwater levels.
USGS in Your State
USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.
Groundwater hydrology is an interpretive science; because we cannot observe the resource directly, we must interpolate and extrapolate our understanding from known points of data. Water-level measurements from observation wells are the principal source of information about the hydrologic stresses acting on aquifers and how these stresses affect groundwater recharge, storage, and discharge.
A groundwater network is a set of wells at which water levels are routinely measured. The goal of groundwater network design is to allocate available funds, human resources, equipment, and time to efficiently obtain the groundwater data needed for operating, administering, managing, researching, and planning water-resources programs. The report "Ground-Water-Level Monitoring and the Importance of Long-Term Water-Level Data" by Taylor and Alley discusses the need and use for long-term water-level data. The following references offer some examples of qualitative and quantitative methods for evaluating and designing networks. This is not a comprehensive list, but a starting point for the topic of groundwater networks.
USGS Groundwater Watch
The USGS Groundwater Watch web sites group related wells and data from National Water Information System (NWIS) active well networks and provide basic statistics about the water-level data. Networks include the Active Groundwater Level Network, the Climate Response Network, and the Real-Time Groundwater Level Network.
Advisory Committee on Water Information, Subcommittee on Ground Water, 2009, A National Framework for Ground Water Monitoring in the United States: Advisory Committee on Water Information, 81 p.
Conger, R.W, 1997, Evaluation of selected wells in Pennsylvania's observation-well program as of 1993: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 96-4319. 73 pp.
Cunningham, W.L., Geiger, L.H., and Karavitis, G.A., 2007, U.S. Geological Survey Ground-Water Climate Response Network: U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 2007-3003, 4p.
Frost, L.R., O'Hearn, Michael, Gibb, J.P., Sherrill, M.G., 1984, Illinois ground-water observation network - a preliminary planning document: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 84-584, p.
Heath, R.C., 1974, Why measure ground-water levels?: U.S. Geological Survey, Water Resources Division Bulletin, January-March, 1974, pp. 19-25.
Heath, R.C., 1976, Design of ground-water level observation-well programs: Ground Water, vol. 14, no. 2, pp. 71-77.
Hudak, P.F., Loaiciga, H.A., and Schoolmaster, F.A., 1993, Application of geographic information systems to groundwater monitoring network design: Water Resources Bulletin, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 383-390.
Kim, N.J., Cho, M.J., and Woo, N.C., 1995, Developing a national groundwater-monitoring network in Korea: Hydrogeology Journal, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 89-94.
Lambert, R.B., 1992, The ground-water-level monitoring network in Iowa: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 92-27, 31 p.
Melvin, R.L., 1986, Connecticut observation wells - guidelines for network modification: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 85-4079, 24 p.
Olea, R.A., 1984, Sampling design optimization for spatial functions: Mathematical Geology, v. 16, no. 4, p. 369-392.
Olea, R.A., and Davis, J.C., 1999, Optimizing the High Plains Aquifer Water-level Observation Network: Kansas Geological Survey Open File Report 1999-15. (Available online at http://www.kgs.ku.edu/Hydro/Levels/OFR99_15/
Peters, H.J., 1972, Criteria for groundwater level data networks for hydrologic and modeling purposes: Water Resources Research, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 194-200.
Reynolds, R.J., 1999, Evaluation of the Federal-State cooperative observation well network in upstate New York, 1995-97: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 99-468, 36 p.
Swain, E.D., and Sonenshein, R.S., 1994, Spatial and temporal statistical analysis of a ground-water level network, Broward County, Florida: USGS WRIR 94-4076
Taylor, C.J.; Alley, W.M., 2001, Ground-water-level monitoring and the importance of long-term water-level data: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1217.
Taylor, G.C., 1975, Planning and design of ground-water networks: U.S. Geological Survey, Office of Groundwater Technical Memorandum 76.2. (http://water.usgs.gov/admin/memo/GW/gw76.02.html)
U.S Geological Survey, 2002, Concepts for national assessment of water availability and use: U.S Geological Survey Circular 1223, 39 p.
Wallace, J.C. and Crist, M.A., 1989, Procedures for evaluating observation-well networks in Wyoming, and application to northeastern Wyoming, 1986: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Resources Investigations Report 88-4215, 29 p.
Winner, M.D., 1981, Proposed observation-well network and ground-water level program for North Carolina: USGS Open File Report 81-544
Winter, T.C., 1972, An approach to the design of statewide or regional groundwater information systems: Water Resources Research, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 222-230.
Winter, T.C., Mallory, S.E., Allen, T.R., and Rosenberry, D.O., 2000, The use of principal component analysis for interpreting ground-water hydrographs: Ground Water, v. 38, no. 2, p. 234-246.
Woldt, W. and Bogardi, I., 1992, Ground water monitoring network design using multiple criteria decision making and geostatistics: Water Resources Bulletin, vol. 28, no. 1, pp. 45-62.