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Water Resources of the United States


The USGS is the Nation's largest earth-science agency and has the principal responsibility within the Federal government for providing hydrologic information and for appraising the Nation's water resources. Hydrologic data and other data are used in research and hydrologic studies to describe the quantity, quality, and location of the water resources of the United States. The collection, analysis, and interpretation of these data is done in cooperation with other federal, state and local agencies, universities, and research centers.

State and Regional

The USGS manages water information at offices located throughout the United States. Although all offices are tied together through a Nation-wide computer network, each collects data and conducts studies in a particular area. Local information is best found at these sites.

National (listed alphabetically)

Branch of Geophysical Applications and Support -- Provides technology transfer and training for geophysical methods, guidelines for quality assurance and quality control for the collection, processing, storage, and interpretation of geophysical data, and carries out specialized research studies to enhance the knowledge and application of advanced geophysical methods related to water-resources problems.

Branch of Technical Development and Quality Systems -- Operates and maintains the National Training Center, provides technical support and advice on quality management technology, manages and operates quality control programs for water resources, and provides training and coordination on quality assurance programs for the Districts.

Ground Water Atlas of the United States -- The USGS series of print publications "The Ground Water Atlas of the United States" describes the location, the extent, and the geologic and hydrologic characteristics of the important aquifers of the Nation.

Hydrologic Instrumentation Facility (HIF) -- supports USGS hydrologic data-collection activities through the identification of needs, development of technical specifications, design or development of specialized interfaces, contracts and procurements, testing and evaluation, specialized field applications, repair and calibration, quality control and assurance, and storage and distribution of hydrologic instrumentation.

National Atmospheric Deposition Program/National Trends Network (NADP/NTN) -- A nationwide network of precipitation monitoring sites. The first sites in the network were established in 1978. The network currently consists of approximately 200 sites.

National Irrigation Water Quality Program -- A Department of Interior program to identify and address irrigation-induced water quality and contamination problems related to Department of Interior water projects in the west.

National Research Program -- conducts basic and problem oriented hydrologic research in support of the mission of the USGS. The program is designed to encourage pursuit of a diverse agenda of research topics aimed at providing new knowledge and insights into varied and complex hydrologic processes that are not well understood.

National Stream Quality Accounting Network (NASQAN) -- focus is on monitoring the water quality of four of the Nation's largest river systems--the Mississippi (including the Missouri and Ohio), the Columbia, the Colorado, and the Rio Grande.

National Water Quality Assessment Program -- A program designed to assess historical, current, and future water-quality conditions in representative river basins and aquifers nationwide.

National Water Quality Laboratory -- Fulfills analytical requirements of the USGS by analyzing environmental samples for inorganic, organic, and radiochemical constituents.

National Water Summary -- A series of publications designed to increase public understanding of the nature, geographic distribution, magnitude, and trends of the Nation's water resources. It often is referred to as the USGS "encyclopedia of water."

National Water-Use Program -- A program examining the withdrawal, use, and return flow of water on local, state, and national levels.

State Water Resources Research Institute Program -- A matching grant program to support water resources research, education, and information transfer at the 54 university based Water Resources Research Institutes. This program includes the National Institutes for Water Resources USGS Student Internship Program.

Toxic Substances Hydrology (Toxics) Program -- provides unbiased earth science information on the behavior of toxic substances in the Nation's hydrologic environments. The information is used to avoid human exposure, to develop effective cleanup strategies, and to prevent further contamination.

USGS Environmental Affairs Program -- provides guidance and information on the National Environmental Policy Act and other environmental issues.

Water Information Coordination Program (WICP) -- purposes of the program are to ensure the availability of water information required for effective decisionmaking for natural resources management and environmental protection and to do it cost effectively.


Antarctica Stream Hydrology -- maintains and distributes information pertaining to the rivers and streams of the Antarctic continent. Current contributers to this effort include the United States Antarctic Research Program, and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Program.

Global Drainage Basins Database -- Currently at the EROS Data Center, UNEP, NASA, and the USGS are developing continental drainage basins from the 30 arc second (~1-km) digital elevation models (DEM). The goals of the project are two-fold. The first goal is to produce the most realistic, verified drainage basins from the DEM. The second goal is to compare the drainage areas from the 30 arec second (~1-km) source to existing basin sources. A comparitive analysis of what drainage source produces the best physical boundary will benefit researchers, scientists, and individuals that use hydrological feature data for modeling, calculating, and assessing environmental problems.

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Page Last Modified: Monday, 17-Jun-2013 08:13:25 EDT