Continuing Progress Toward a National Assessment of Water Availability and Use

Circular 1440
By: , and 


Executive Summary

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (Public Law 111—11) was passed into law on March 30, 2009. Subtitle F, also known as the SECURE Water Act, calls for the establishment of a “national water availability and use assessment program” within the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The USGS issued the first report on the program in 2013. Program progress over the period 2013–17 is reported herein to fulfill the requirement to inform Congress on implementation of the national water availability and use assessment program, also referred to as the USGS National Water Census (the Water Census).

Much work has been accomplished during 2013–17 on producing water budgets for the nation, a goal USGS outlined in its first report on program progress to Congress. The USGS has completed three geographic focus area studies and has begun three others. Work has advanced on nationwide efforts in streamflow analysis, groundwater assessment and research, evapotranspiration studies, water use, environmental water science, and drought science. The USGS works with Federal and non-Federal agencies, universities, and other organizations to ensure that the information can be aggregated with other types of water-availability and socioeconomic information, such as data on food and energy production. The USGS has also made great strides in measures for delivering data and information on the Water Census to stakeholders and the public.

Much work remains to be accomplished for the Nation to have a comprehensive, ongoing Water Census. In this report, the USGS lays out activities to be accomplished in the next 5 years (2017–22), based upon current funding levels. These include selecting new focus area studies, conducting hydrologic modeling to complete water budgets for the conterminous United States, expanding groundwater modeling efforts, mapping a national classification system for environmental water science, and developing an inventory of interbasin water transfers. All of these steps are necessary in order for the Water Census to achieve the goals outlined by Congress in the SECURE Water Act.

Suggested Citation

Evenson, E.J., Jones, S.A., Barber, N.L., Barlow, P.M., Blodgett, D.L., Bruce, B.W., Douglas-Mankin, K., Farmer, W.H., Fischer, J.M., Hughes, W.B., Kennen, J.G., Kiang, J.E., Maupin, M.A., Reeves, H.W., Senay, G.B., Stanton, J.S., Wagner, C.R., and Wilson, J.T., 2018, Continuing progress toward a national assessment of water availability and use: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1440, 64 p.,

ISSN: 2330-5703 (online)

ISSN: 1067-084X (print)

Table of Contents

  • About This Report
  • Acknowledgments
  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • National Water Census
  • Geographic Focus Area Studies
  • Topical Studies
  • Delivering the Data
  • Planning for the Future
  • References Cited
  • Appendix 1. Geographic Focus Area Study Publications
  • Appendix 2. Regional Groundwater Availability Study Publications
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Continuing progress toward a national assessment of water availability and use
Series title Circular
Series number 1440
DOI 10.3133/cir1440
Year Published 2018
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Earth Resources Observation and Science (EROS) Center, Office of the Associate Director for Water
Description viii, 64 p.
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details