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USGS Groundwater Information

Groundwater Resources Program

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 [Photo: Ground water flowing out of well.]

New & Noteworthy

* Press Release: Study Explores Groundwater and Geothermal Energy in Drought-Stricken Eastern Oregon and Neighboring States

* Technical Announcement: USGS Issues Revised Framework for Hydrogeology of Floridan Aquifer

* Press Release: High Plains Aquifer Groundwater Levels Continue to Decline

* Regional Groundwater Availability Study Geospatial Data

* Press Release: USGS Assesses Current Groundwater-Quality Conditions in the Williston Basin Oil Production Area

Past listings...

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.]

Other Water Topics

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*  Surface Water

*  Water Quality

*  Water Use

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.

Effects of Climate Variability on Groundwater Availability


GWRP supports applied research into the effects of climate variability on groundwater availability.

Purpose & Scope

Climate change refers to any change in climate over time, whether due to natural variability or as a result of human activity (IPCC, 2007). The potential consequences of climate change have been identified as major issues facing the availability of groundwater resources in the United States (US) (Alley and others, 1999). To better understand these potential consequences of climate variability on groundwater resources of the Principal Aquifers of the US at the National scale, GWRP is supporting a proof-of-concept assessment to investigate the following questions:

  • How do recharge, discharge, and change in storage in the Principal Aquifers respond to natural climate cycles on interannual to multidecadal timescales?
  • Considering future climate change, what fraction of hydrologic response is due to natural variability versus human activities?
  • Are certain time periods of climate variability more cost-effective for artificial storage and recovery efforts?
  • Do certain time periods of climate variability necessitate time-varying groundwater management policies?
  • Are certain Principal Aquifers more or less susceptible or vulnerable to changes in storage due to climate variability?
  • What meaningful approaches exist for incorporating groundwater response to climate variability in groundwater flow models?

The project began in mid-2008 and will run through late 2009.

Methods & Activities

To develop the fundamental knowledge base that is required to address these issues, GWRP is supporting a proof-of-concept assessment of the Mississippi Embayment Regional Aquifer System (MERAS). The project is being conducted by researchers in the USGS Colorado, California, and Arkansas Water Science Centers. Through this project, the USGS will compile, analyze, and synthesize existing hydrologic time series in the MERAS. This information will provide a basis for understanding the effects of annual, interannual, and multidecadal climate variability on aspects of the hydrologic budget of the MERAS, including recharge, discharge, and change in storage. The results will be used to improve the calibration of groundwater availability modeling to predict the MERAS responses to climate variability in the next fifty years. The results of the assessment will provide information to inform future assessments of other Principal Aquifers across the US.

For more information:

Jason J. Gurdak, Hydrologist
(303) 236-4882 x222

For more information on climate variability and USGS science:


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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 03-Jan-2017 20:44:55 EST