USGS makes 100 years of water data available on the web

The United States Geological Survey (USGS) has launched a new website, providing up-to-date information on water levels and quality across the country, and opening the doors to archives going back 100 years.

The USGS’s new water resources website is a searchable database which provides information on ground and surface water levels, stream-flow, and physical, chemical and biological properties of water, sediment and tissue samples taken across the country, including pH, nutrient levels and dissolved oxygen. Samples are taken from approximately 1.5 million sites across the United States, and also across Puerto Rico and Guam, including several thousand which provide real-time information on water, uploaded to the database every four hours. “The vastness of this water data set is unprecedented,” said Robert Hirsch, USGS Associate Director for Water. “And by having more than 100 years worth of data for many places, all available on a desktop computer, users can easily compare data taken from fifty years ago and an hour ago to track changes.”

Not only does this save time, money and effort for the user, but it also allows the USGS hydrologists and technicians to concentrate on collecting and processing data. “We have been providing real-time stream-flow and historical stream-flow data on the web for several years now,” said Hirsch. “What this new system does is to improve that service and integrate it with many other types of water data including historical water-quality data from rivers and aquifers, historical ground-water level data, and real-time water quality, precipitation, and groundwater levels.”

The USGS’s network of data collection stations includes 338,000 water-quality sites where samples are taken from rivers or aquifers, 21,200 stream-flow sites, 7,570 real-time sites, and 1.37 million wells.

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