Water-temperature data acquisition activities in the United States

Water-Resources Investigations Report 72-2
Prepared by Office of Water Data Coordination in cooperation with federal, state and local agencies in response to requirements of Office of Management and Budget Circular A-67



Along with the growing interest in water quality during the last decade, the need for data on all types of water-quality parameters has also increased. One parameter of particular interest, because of its many ramifications, is temperature. It influences many of the chemical and physical processes that take place in water. The solubility of gases--for example, oxygen and carbon dioxide--and the solution of mineral matter in water are functions of temperature. Such physical properties as density and viscosity vary with temperature. Oxidation of organic materials, as well as algal and bacterial growth, is promoted or retarded by favorable or unfavorable temperatures.

Further, temperature bears on the utility of water: as a source of public water supplies; for industrial use, particularly if the water is used for cooling; and in the field of recreation involving contact sports, fishing, and fish culture. In recent years, temperature changes resulting from inflow of heated industrial waste, particularly effluent from power generating plants, have increased the need for temperature data to determine the degree of change, its effect on ecology, and the effect of any remedial action. Thus, because of the many extensive and intensive effects, a large amount of temperature data is collected on surface and ground waters by many agencies throughout the country.

Moreover, because of its importance, there is a widespread interest in temperature even by those who are not active collectors of the data themselves. The industrialist, the manager, the public official, and others at one time or another may have need for temperature data and may well raise the questions: Who is collecting temperature data? What is the extent of the activity? Where are the data being collected? The purpose of this report is to answer these questions. The information in the report is confined to the activities of Federal and non-Federal agencies. It is based on information furnished to the Office of Water Data Coordination, U.S. Geological Survey, and published in the "Catalog of Information on Water Data, Index to Water Quality Section, Edition 1970." This is one of four indexes, each of which is a separate section of the Catalog. Three of the indexes, "Index to Water-Quality Section," "Index to Surface-Water Section," and "Index to Ground-.Water Stations," contain information on data acquired on a recurrent basis at specific locations for a period of 3 years or more. The fourth section, "Index to Areal Investigations and Miscellaneous Activities," is concerned with specific projects or shorter-term data activities that involve field or laboratory measurements or observations not included in any other section of the Catalog.

The Catalog is a record of activities throughout the country (and in some places along the international border between the United States and Canada) conducted by Federal and non-Federal agencies engaged in the acquisition of water data and who furnish such information for presentation in the Catalog. The Catalog itself is an outgrowth of an assignment to the Department of the Interior and in turn to the Geological Survey, by the Office of Management and Budget, through the medium of OMB Circular A-67. This Circular states in part that one of the assigned responsibilities will be maintenance of a "central catalog of information on...water data and on Federal activities being planned or conducted to acquire such data." As an extension of this activity, non-Federal agencies are solicited to participate in the program.

In this report, information is presented by means of tables and illustrations preceded by brief explanations. It includes the agencies collecting the data, the number of stations located on surface and ground waters where temperature measurements are made, the distribution of stations by States and by the 21 regions of the Water Resources Council (WRC) (a Federal agency created in accordance with the Water Resources Planning Act of 1965), and the frequency of measurements. Acquisition activities were not reported for those areas left blank on some illustrations. The report does not contain the actual temperature data. For this information, the particular agency, Federal or non-Federal, acquiring the data will have to be contacted. However, a bibliography at the end of this report lists 194 references which contain temperature data. Many of these references, especially the publications of the Geological Survey, may be available in major public and university libraries and libraries of Federal and non-Federal agencies.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Water-temperature data acquisition activities in the United States
Series title Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number 72-2
DOI 10.3133/wri722
Year Published 1972
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Description vii, 47 p.
Country United States
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