Water

Water is essential for society and, as demand steadily rises, our most precious commodity. Geoscientists study how to provide a clean and secure water source to meet society's needs.

Frequently Asked Questions

American Geosciences Institute
American Geosciences Institute
U.S. Geological Survey

Latest News

IES Water Glyph
(2017-03-06)
February 15, 2017 On February 15, Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ-6) introduced an amendment  (H.R.1068) to the Safe Drinking Water Act, which was last amended in 1996. H.R.1068 would update laws, direct the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to set deadlines for the development of new...
Hawaiian flower
(2016-11-03)
October 18, 2016 On October 18, the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources held a hearing at the Hawaiian State Capitol in Honolulu. The hearing addressed current water resource scarcity issues facing the state and recent water legislation. Hawaii‘s freshwater supplies are drawn almost...
Screenshot of interactive map of North Dakota surface water quality. Image Credit: North Dakota Department of Health
(2016-11-02)
#MapOfTheDay! Today the Critical Issues Program (@AGI_GeoIssues) shared an interactive map of surface water quality in North Dakota from the North Dakota Department of Health (@NDDOH), which you can find at http://bit.ly/2fsqStI. For information about water issues in North Dakota, check out our...
Irrigation equipment. (Background: Copyright Shutterstock.com/Sergey Nivens; right: Copyright Shutterstock.com/Cecilia Lim H M)
(2016-10-28)
The 2016 Critical Issues Forum, Addressing Changes in Regional Groundwater Resources: Lessons from the High Plains Aquifer concluded today at the Colorado School of Mines Ben H. Parker Student Center. An initial summary of social media posts using #CIForum16 were compiled connecting people to...
AGI Forum 2016 Groundwater Issues
(2016-10-21)
There is still time to register for this event! The 2016 Critical Issues Forum, Addressing Changes in Regional Groundwater Resources: Lessons from the High Plains Aquifer, will be held October 27-28 in Golden, Colorado. If you are a current student or belong to an AGI member society, you will...
Interactive map of water wells in Nebraska. Image Credit: Nebraska Department of Natural Resources
(2016-10-14)
#MapOfTheDay! Today the Critical Issues Program (@AGI_GeoIssues) shared an interactive map of water wells in Nebraska from the Nebraska Department of Natural Resources (@NebraskaDNR), which you can find at bit.ly/22dbeyi. For more information on groundwater issues in the High Plains, consider...
Atlean Lake in British Columbia
(2016-10-11)
September 30, 2016 On September 15, the Senate passed the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) (S. 2848), marking a major milestone in the two-year water policy bill. The bill passed with a final vote of 95-3. The House version of the bill was voted upon once an amendment authorizing funding to...
Interactive map of groundwater quality in Idaho. Image Credit: Idaho Bureau of Laboratories, Idaho Department of Health and Welfare
(2016-10-04)
#MapOfTheDay! Today the Critical Issues Program (@AGI_GeoIssues) shared an interactive map of groundwater quality in Idaho from the Idaho Bureau of Laboratories at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (@IDHW), which you can find at http://bit.ly/2dnK2gD. To learn more about groundwater, check...
Screenshot of the Marine Cadastre National Viewer. Image Credit: NOAA, BOEM
(2016-09-30)
The American Meteorological Society (AMS) Policy Program’s workshop, “Opportunities and Needs in Integrated Water Prediction, Risk Assessment, and Management for Coastal Resilience,” concluded on September 28th, providing insights to coastal scientists and managers on how to better serve their...
Flyer for Desalination Webinar. Image Credit: U.S. Geological Survey
(2016-09-27)
On Tuesday September 20, the Critical Issues Program hosted a webinar on the state of desalination in the United States and further afield. The three speakers were Tzahi Cath (Colorado School of Mines), Jessica Jones (Poseidon Water), and Katherine Zodrow (Montana Tech). Topics covered included the...

Case Studies & Factsheets

CI_Factsheet_2017_2_groundwater_170309_thumb.JPG

Fresh water from underground Groundwater is any water found underground in the cracks and pores in soil, sand, or rock. Groundwater provides 25% of the fresh water used in the United States.1 It is particularly important for irrigation and domestic uses in arid or remote areas, where surface...

Fig. 1 - The geologic map of part of the Pell City quadrangle, AL, accurately identifies the recharge area of the Fort Payne Chert aquifer (medium blue) that must be protected from pollution. Credit: W. Thomas

Defining the Problem In central Alabama, the Mississippian-age Fort Payne Chert is an important aquifer for domestic and municipal water supplies. Rainfall recharges groundwater where the chert is exposed at the land surface. Where the chert has been quarried, many of the abandoned pits have...

Fig. 1. A groundwater hydrograph from a domestic well completed in an isolated sandstone of the Cretaceous lower Mancos Shale. The water level dropped about 70 ft in one year and the well subsequently went dry. Credit: P. Johnson

Defining the Problem The population of the historic village of Placitas, New Mexico, in the picturesque and geologically complex Sandia foothills north of Albuquerque, has tripled since 1970. Increased domestic well development, combined with persistent droughts, have culminated in dry and...

Research Database Publications

Cover of PP1611; Source: USGS
2001, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The bedrock ceiling in parts of the Retsof salt mine in the the Genesee Valley, Livingston County, N.Y. collapsed on March 12, 1994 and water from overlying aquifers began to flow into the mine at a rate of 5,500 gal/min (gallons per minute), and the rate increased to as much as 20,000 gal/min...
Cover image of factsheet Image credit: NGWA
2016, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
Practicing water efficiency is key to keeping a private water system running smoothly. Groundwater is replenished by rainfall—and melted snow in applicable areas—and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Being informed about your well and the groundwater that it uses is the first step toward always...
Cover of Critical Needs 2016 Report; Source: AGI
2015, American Geosciences Institute (AGI)
The geoscience community has the knowledge, experience, and ingenuity to address a wide range of societal needs. We study Earth’s systems, the complex geologic, marine, atmospheric, and hydrologic processes that sustain life and the economy. Geoscience expertise allows us to better understand and...
Cover of fs2015-3077; Source: U.S. Geological Survey
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) are finding evidence of a much wetter past in the deserts of the American Southwest using a most unlikely source—wetlands. Wetlands form in arid environments where water tables approach or breach the ground surface. Often thought of as stagnant and...
Cover of FS2015-3039; Source: USGS
2015, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has collected hydrologic information in New Mexico since 1889, beginning with the first USGS streamflow-gaging station in the Nation, located on the Rio Grande near Embudo, New Mexico. Water-resources information provided by the USGS is used by many government...
Cover for USGS FS 2013-3107 ; Source: USGS
2014, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
Information concerning the availability, use, and quality of water in De Soto Parish, Louisiana, is critical for proper water-supply management. The purpose of this fact sheet is to present information that can be used by water managers, parish residents, and others for stewardship of this vital...
Cover of TM5; Source: Wyoming State Geological Survey
2013, Wyoming State Geological Survey (WSGS)
The Wyoming Framework Water Plan (WWC Engineering, and others, 2007a) summarized the separate water plans for Wyoming’s seven major river basins (Figure 1-1) compiled between 2001 and 2006. The Platte River Basin plan (Trihydro Corporation and others, 2006a, 2006c; Trihydro Corporation, 2006b)...
Cover image of position paper; Image credit: NGWA
2017, National Ground Water Association (NGWA)
It is the position of the National Ground Water Association that the proper decommissioning of abandoned boreholes into the earth’s subsurface for any end purpose is critical to protecting aquifer and groundwater resources. Proper decommissioning and sealing eliminates the decommissioned boring as...
Middle Fork Salmon River at Middle Fork Lodge near Yellow Pine, ID
2001, Maine Geological Survey (MGS)
Streams and their flood plains are dynamic geologic systems. Ever-changing patterns of erosion and deposition occur during the evolution of a river, especially when it begins to meander and shift its course across the cut bank of the bend, while deposition of sediment builds point bars on the...
Cover of fs2016-3055; Image credit: U.S. Geological Survey
2016, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)
The maps and graphs in this summary describe national streamflow conditions for water year 2015 (October 1, 2014, to September 30, 2015) in the context of the 86-year period 1930–2015, unless otherwise noted. The illustrations are based on observed data from the U.S. Geological Survey’s (USGS)...