The Nation's water resources are the basis for life and our economic vitality. These resources support a complex web of human activities and fishery and wildlife needs that depend upon clean water. Demands for good-quality water for drinking, recreation, farming, and industry are rising, and as a result, the American public is concerned about the condition and sustainability of our water resources. The American public is asking: Is it safe to swim in and drink water from our rivers or lakes? Can we eat the fish that come from them? Is our ground water polluted? Is water quality degrading with time, and if so, why? Has all the money we've spent to clean up our waters, done any good? The U.S. Geological Survey's National Water-Quality Assessment (NAWQA) Program was designed to provide information that will help answer these questions. NAWQA is designed to assess historical, current, and future water-quality conditions in representative river basins and aquifers nationwide. One of the primary objectives of the program is to describe relations between natural factors, human activities, and water-quality conditions and to define those factors that most affect water quality in different parts of the Nation. The linkage of water quality to environmental processes is of fundamental importance to water-resource managers, planners, and policy makers. It provides a strong and unbiased basis for better decisionmaking by those responsible for making decisions that affect our water resources, including the United States Congress, Federal, State, and local agencies, environmental groups, and industry. Information from the NAWQA Program also will be useful for guiding research, monitoring, and regulatory activities in cost effective ways.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Overview of the National Water-Quality Assessment Program