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USGS Water Resources of the United States: Water Quality

Sponsoring Organization:  U.S. Geological Survey

Description:  The U.S. Geological Survey's (USGS) National Water Information System (NWIS) is a comprehensive and distributed application that supports the acquisition, processing, and long-term storage of water data. NWISWeb serves as the publicly available portal to a geographically seamless set of much of the water data maintained within NWIS. The USGS collects and analyzes chemical, physical, and biological properties of water, sediment and tissue samples from across the Nation. The NWISWeb discrete sample data base is a compilation of over 4.4 million historical water quality analyses in the USGS district data bases through September 2005. The discrete sample data is a large and complex set of data that has been collected by a variety of projects ranging from national programs to studies in small watersheds. Users should review the help notes and particularly the data retrieval precautions before beginning any retrieval or analysis of data from this data set. Additions of more current data, modifications to ancillary information, and enhanced retrieval options to help users find and appropriately use the data they need are planned for a future release of NWISWeb. At selected surface-water and ground-water sites, the USGS maintains instruments that continuously record physical and chemical characteristics of the water including pH, specific conductance, temperature, dissolved oxygen, and percent dissolved-oxygen saturation. Supporting data such as air temperature and barometric pressure are also available at some sites. At sites where this information is transmitted automatically, data are available from the real-time data system. Once a complete day of readings are received from a site, daily summary data are generated and made available online. Annually, the USGS finalizes and publishes the daily data in a series of water-data reports.

Web Site:  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/qw

Duration:  03/03/1879 to present  (as of 02/22/2013)

Program Contact Web URL:  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/feedback/?to=NWISWeb%20Support%20Team

Program Purpose:  To provide reliable, impartial, timely information that is needed to understand the Nationís water resources. WRD actively promotes the use of this information by decision makers to: * Minimize the loss of life and property as a result of water-related natural hazards, such as floods, droughts, and land movement. * Effectively manage ground-water and surface-water resources for domestic, agricultural, commercial, industrial, recreational, and ecological uses. * Protect and enhance water resources for human health, aquatic health, and environmental quality. * Contribute to wise physical and economic development of the Nationís resources for the benefit of present and future generations.

Data Access Web URL:  http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/qw

Data Access Information:  The USGS National Water Information System for the Web (NWISWeb) went online in 2001. Since then the USGS has noticed an increasing number of users have developed automated ways to retrieve information served by this system. The USGS supports the use of automated retrievals as long as they are performed correctly and do not adversely affect performance of the system. This document describes approaches that will help users perform automated retrievals efficiently. Frequently Asked Questions about Data Access: http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/news/?automated_retrieval_info#FAQ

Monitoring Stations:  16303 stations are registered in the database (search/display)

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