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GLIN==> USGS Press Release: New Website For Nation's Water Data

Posted on behalf of  Eugene Kinerney  <bkinerney@usgs.gov>

News Release
U.S. Department of the Interior
U.S. Geological Survey
September 18, 2002

USGS Launches New Web Site for Nation's Water Data

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), this week, unveiled its new, online
WaterWatch website which gives visitors an instantaneous picture of
water conditions nationwide in near real time. Through the use of USGS
WaterWatch maps, the entire Nation's current streamflow conditions,
including high
flood-flows and low drought-flows are depicted on maps with color-coded
dots which represent conditions at about 3,000 streamgages. The
WaterWatch website is available at http://water.usgs.gov/waterwatch/ .

WaterWatch features a point-and-click interface allowing users to
retrieve maps and graphs of real-time stage and discharge data for
stations. From the National map, you can click on a state to find state
data and click further to find near real-time data at an individual gage.

This feature facilitates rapid assessment of both general and specific
water-resources conditions. WaterWatch also serves as a geospatial front
end to NWIS-Web, the USGS online National Water Information S ystem that
provides access via home or office computer to real-time and historical
surface-water, ground-water, and water-quality data. Access to data
(including real-time streamflow and historical flood peaks) via NWIS-Web
can be obtained at http://waterdata.usgs.gov/nwis/ . To provide users
with a broad perspective on short-term and long-term streamflow conditions
and variations, WaterWatch maps and graphs are organized into three distinct
categories: realtime, daily, and 7-day average streamflow. The latter
is particularly useful for identifying regions undergoing prolonged wet and
dry spells.

"We're making our data easier to find and easier to use than ever, all
with the click of a mouse," said Robert Hirsch, USGS Associate Director for
Water. "By putting our near real-time data on a map, even a new visitor
to our website can quickly see water conditions nationally, and then with
two clicks, find out about water conditions in his or her hometown."

USGS has provided real-time streamflow and historical streamflow data on
the web for several years now. WaterWatch marks the first time it's been
combined with a geospatial or map-based front end. Users can also access
our many other types of water data including historical water-quality
data from rivers and aquifers, historical ground-water level data, and
real-time water quality, precipitation, and ground-water levels.

WaterWatch and NWISWeb are integral parts of the USGS mission to
disseminate important water-quality and quantity data to the public.
These data can help water managers, engineers, scientists, emergency
recreational water users, utilities, etc. to:
      evaluate current water supplies and plan for future supplies,
      forecast floods and droughts,
      operate reservoirs for hydropower, flood control, or water
      evaluate and control water quality,
      navigate rivers and streams,
      safely fish, canoe, kayak, or raft.

Daily WaterWatch maps can also be viewed as animations. The daily maps
are grouped into monthly animations dating back to June 1999. These
animations provide a useful visual characterization of streamflow changes
from day
to day, particularly in depicting a river's responses to intense
precipitation, such as occurs during tropical storms and hurricanes.
They also show the speed at which hydrologic drought can intensify along
rivers  and streams.

As the Nation's science agency for natural resources, hazards and the
environment, the USGS is committed to meeting the health, safety and
knowledge needs of the changing world around us.

                             * * * USGS * * *

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