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USGS Water Resources of the United States: Surface Water

Sponsoring Organization:  U.S. Geological Survey

Description:  Nationally, USGS surface-water data includes more than 850,000 station years of time-series data that describe stream levels, streamflow (discharge), reservoir and lake levels, surface-water quality, and rainfall. The data are collected by automatic recorders and manual measurements at field installations across the Nation. Data are collected by field personnel or relayed through telephones or satellites to offices where it is stored and processed. The data relayed through the Geostationary Operational Environmental Satellite (GOES) system are processed automatically in near real time, and in many cases, real-time data are available online within minutes. Once a complete day of readings are received from a site, daily summary data are generated and stored in the data base. Recent provisional daily data are updated on the web once a day when the computation is completed. Annually, the USGS finalizes and publishes the daily data in a series of water-data reports. Daily streamflow data and peak data are updated annually following publication of the reports.

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

Duration:  03/03/1879 to present  (as of 06/04/2008)

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

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/sw

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:  2340 stations are registered in the database (search/display)

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