USGS Water Data System Learning and Engagement Opportunity


The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), one of the Source Water Collaborative’s 29 members, is developing a Next Generation Water Observing System (NGWOS) as a result of substantial advances in water science, together with emerging breakthroughs in technical and computational capabilities. The NGWOS will provide real-time data on water quantity and quality in more affordable and rapid ways than previously possible, and in more locations. Characteristics of the NGWOS include: (1) state-of-the-art measurements, (2) dense array of sensors at selected sites, (3) increased spatial and temporal coverage, (4) new technology testing and implementation, and (5) modernized and timely data storage and delivery. The data will be coupled to advanced modeling tools to inform daily water operations, decision-making during water emergencies (like floods, droughts, and contaminant spills), assessments of past trends in water quantity and quality, and forecasts of future water availability. The NGWOS is not replacing existing USGS monitoring networks; rather, it is intended to help fill in data and knowledge gaps. Intensive monitoring is being focused on medium-sized watersheds (10,000 – 20,000 square miles) and underlying aquifers in areas that physically represent larger regions across the Nation and that are facing important water resource challenges.

A pilot in the Delaware River Basin (DRB)–a nationally important, complex interstate river system–began in 2018. Planning for an integrated water observing system in the headwaters of the Upper Colorado / Gunnison River Basin (UCOL)–a snowmelt dominated system in the mountain west–began in 2019. A webinar on the UCOL NGWOS and associated water science programs will be held on April 9th. Email Sandy Eberts ( or Chad Wagner ( to receive more information on this and other upcoming webinars, stakeholder meetings and program updates. Please put “STAKEHOLDER REGISTRY” in the subject line and include your first name, last name, organization, position, email address, state, and work phone in the body. Visit the NGWOS website to learn more.

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