National Water Quality Assessment Program

Project Description
Since 1991, USGS scientists with the NAWQA program have been
collecting and analyzing data and information in more than 50
major river basins and aquifers across the Nation. The goal is
to develop long-term consistent and comparable information on
streams, ground water, and aquatic ecosystems to support sound
management and policy decisions. The NAWQA program is designed
to answer these questions:

1.What is the condition of our Nation's streams and ground

2.How are these conditions changing over time?

3.How do natural features and human activities affect these
conditions? How does NAWQA answer these questions?

Answering these questions:

Study design and methods are nationally consistent so that
water-quality conditions can be compared on a regional and
national basis.

Studies are long-term and cyclical so that trends in water
quality can be analyzed to determine whether conditions are
getting better or worse.

Studies relate human activities (contaminant sources, land and
chemical use) and natural factors (soils, geology, hydrology,
climate) to water quality, aquatic life, and stream habitat so
that findings help with decisions about managing water resources
and protecting drinking water and aquatic ecosystems.

USGS scientists interact with government officials, resource
managers, industry representatives, and other interested parties
so that findings are relevant to decision makers.

USGS scientists cover a range of disciplines, including
hydrology, geology, geophysics, biology, geography, and
statistics so that the interdependent nature of river basins and
aquifer systems can be analyzed.

USGS is committed to making its unbiased scientific information
available to everyone so that findings are presented in multiple
formats, including raw data, reports, journal articles,
pamphlets, and videos. Most of these products are free.

For more information,
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[Summary provided by [USGS]