Urban infrastructure and water management - Science capabilities of the U.S. Geological Survey

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Managing the urban-water cycle has increasingly become a challenge for water-resources planners and regulators faced with the problem of providing clean drinking water to urban residents. Sanitary and combined sanitary and storm sewer networks convey wastewater to centralized treatment plants. Impervious surfaces, which include roads, parking lots, and buildings, increase stormwater runoff and the efficiency by which runoff is conveyed to nearby stream channels; therefore, impervious surfaces increase the risk of urban flooding and alteration of natural ecosystems. These challenges will increase with the expansion of urban centers and the probable effects of climate change on precipitation patterns. Understanding the urban-water cycle is critical to effectively manage water resources and to protect people, infrastructure, and urban-stream ecosystems. As a leader in water-supply, wastewater, and stormwater assessments, the U.S. Geological Survey has the expertise and resources needed to monitor, model, and interpret data related to the urban-water cycle and thereby enable water-resources managers to make informed decisions.

Document Type: 

  • Fact Sheet


  • critical issues, database publication, water, flood, coasts, water availability, drought