USGS - science for a changing world

USGS Groundwater Information

*  Home *  Monthly Highlights *  Data & Information *  Publications *  Methods & Modeling *  Selected Topics *  Programs *  About *  Contact Us

USGS Groundwater Watch

USGS maintains a network of active wells to provide basic statistics about groundwater levels.

 [Image: USGS active water level wells location map.]

New & Noteworthy

Featured Science

Press Releases RSS

USGS in Your State

USGS Water Science Centers are located in each state.

 [Map: There is a USGS Water Science Center office in each State.] Washington Oregon California Idaho Nevada Montana Wyoming Utah Colorado Arizona New Mexico North Dakota South Dakota Nebraska Kansas Oklahoma Texas Minnesota Iowa Missouri Arkansas Louisiana Wisconsin Illinois Mississippi Michigan Indiana Ohio Kentucky Tennessee Alabama Pennsylvania West Virginia Georgia Florida Caribbean Alaska Hawaii and Pacific Islands New York Vermont New Hampshire Maine Massachusetts South Carolina North Carolina Rhode Island Virginia Connecticut New Jersey Maryland-Delaware-D.C.

Other USGS Water Science Areas

USGS Recognizes "National Groundwater Awareness Week"
March 10-16, 2013

Tweet with us!


Join us for a live Twitter chat about groundwater with USGS scientists.

Date: Wednesday March 13, 2013
Time: 3:00 to 3:30PM Eastern
Where: Twitter. Follow @USGSLive and use #AskUSGS

Learn more about the chat.

 [National Groundwater Awareness Week]

The U.S. Geological Survey joins our partners in the groundwater community in
recognizing March 10-16, 2013, as National Groundwater Awareness Week[Link exits USGS web site]
because groundwater awareness is important to you!

Why is groundwater important?

Groundwater is one of the Nation's most valuable natural resources. It occurs almost everywhere beneath the Earth's surface and is a major source of water supply worldwide. It is the Nation's principal reserve of freshwater and represents much of the potential future water supply. Groundwater is a major contributor to flow in many streams and rivers and has a strong influence on river and wetland habitats for plants and animals. (Source: USGS Circular 1186: Sustainability of ground-water resources, USGS Circular 1323: Ground-Water Availability in the United States)

Today, many concerns about the Nation's groundwater resources involve questions about their future sustainability. The sustainability of groundwater resources is a function of many factors, including depletion of groundwater storage, reductions in streamflow, potential loss of wetland and riparian ecosystems, land subsidence, saltwater intrusion, and changes in groundwater quality. Each groundwater system and development situation is unique and requires an analysis adjusted to the nature of the existing water issues.

USGS and Groundwater

The USGS provides unbiased, timely, and relevant scientific information and understanding about groundwater resources of the Nation. USGS groundwater data and information provide resource managers and policy makers with essential information needed for management of this limited resource.


  • Identify, describe, and make available fundamental information regarding groundwater availability and quality in the Nation's major aquifer systems over time.
  • Characterize natural and human factors controlling quality, recharge, storage, and discharge in the Nation's major aquifer systems, and improve understanding of these processes.
  • Develop and test new tools and field methods for the analysis of groundwater systems and the interactions these systems have with surface water.

[Map: Statistics about groundwater-level conditions in wells in the USGS Active Groundwater Level Network]
[Map: Statistics about groundwater-level conditions in wells in the USGS Active Groundwater Level Network]

What kind of groundwater activities does the USGS do?

The USGS conducts groundwater activities in every state and in the US territories. Recent activities around the Nation include:

Improved our understanding of how pumping groundwater wells can affect streams.
This information can be used by scientists and water resource managers to estimate the rate, locations, and timing of streamflow depletion in response to groundwater pumping. Learn more in the new factsheet.

Added spring data to our popular Groundwater Watch.
The Active Springs Monitoring Sites web pages provide data from more than 100 springs in the USGS active measurement program.

Produced a national assessment and on-line interactive maps of groundwater-quality trends,
showing how contaminant concentrations have changed over the last twenty years. View the maps and learn more.

Created the first the first comprehensive groundwater flow model for the entire Yakima River in Washington.
Tribal, State, and Local agencies use the model estimates to inform their management of water resources and to protect streamflows for sockeye salmon and other critical aquatic species. A detailed report about the study is online.

Documented for the first time the occurrence of groundwater that is more than a million years old in a major water-supply aquifer along the Atlantic Coast.
USGS findings revealed that modern pumping in southern Maryland west of the Chesapeake Bay and on the Eastern Shore is tapping groundwater resources that have accumulated in the aquifer over multiple cycles of climate change and are not quickly recharging. A detailed journal article explains the USGS research.

Continued Development of a Collaborative National Groundwater Monitoring Network.
Through the Advisory Committee on Water Information Subcommittee on Ground Water, and in partnership with other federal agencies, state agencies, and non-governmental organizations, the USGS continued development of a collaborative National Groundwater Monitoring Network.

Collaborated with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to create a new online portal that includes both USGS and EPA water-quality data.
Stakeholders can access over 150 million water-quality records at the Water Quality Portal (WQP).

Stay Connected

You can stay connected with the latest USGS information and products in many ways:

 [Image: The water cycle.]

The water cycle. (Source: USGS Open File Report 2012-1066)

USGS Home Water Climate and Land Use Change Core Science Systems Ecosystems Energy and Minerals Environmental Health Natural Hazards

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Contact the USGS Office of Groundwater
Page Last Modified: Monday, 16-Sep-2013 21:11:16 EDT