The major ground-water systems of the United States have been investigated by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) through its Regional Aquifer-System Analysis (RASA) Program. During the first 15 years of the program (1978-92), 25 regional aquifer systems, including the most heavily pumped aquifers in the Nation, were intensively studied. As of mid-1992, 18 of the regional aquifer studies are completed or nearly so; 7 of the regional aquifer studies are ongoing, and compilation of a national ground-water atlas is in progress.
This report summarizes the status of each RASA study and briefly describes the hydrology of the 25 regional aquifer systems. Important study results and examples of applications of study results are presented for some of the completed RASA investigations.
The major contributions of the RASA Program are (1) assembly of data from numerous local studies and long-time data collections into systematic regional data bases; (2) comprehensive descriptions of the geologic, hydrologic, and geochemical characteristics of the regional aquifer systems; and (3) an understanding of how the regional ground-water-flow systems function under natural (predevelopment) and current (developed) conditions. To provide the comprehensive system descriptions, many of the RASA studies present, for the first time, maps depicting the hydrogeologic frameworks, water chemistry, potentiometric surfaces, and other aspects of entire regional aquifer systems.
To provide an understanding of how the flow systems function, several of the completed RASA studies provide, for the first time, hydrologic budgets for both predevelopment and developed conditions. The results of the RASA Program are contained in nearly 900 reports published by the USGS, as well as various State and local agencies, and in articles published in scientific journals. A series of U.S. Geological Survey Professional Papers are being published to summarize and synthesize the results of each RASA study.