Real-Time Water Quality Information Available Nationally

Real-Time Water Quality Information Available Nationally

May 23, 2008

Real time water-quality data are now easily accessible online throughthe USGS WaterQualityWatch Web site.

Continuous real-time information on water quality is a vital asset thathelps safeguard lives and property and ensures adequate water resourcesfor a healthy economy.

Real-time water quality measurements are available at more than 1,300sites across the United States in streams with watersheds as small as afew square miles to more than a million square miles in the MississippiRiver. Measurements include streamflow, water temperature, specificconductance, pH, dissolved oxygen, and turbidity.

"Real-time water information is breaking new ground in science andtechnology and is proving to be very useful, helping local watermanagers make important daily decisions, such as regarding drinkingwater, water treatment, recreation, and public safety on beachesthroughout the U.S." said Matthew Larsen, USGS Acting Associate Directorfor Water.

The public also uses the on-line data to decide whether conditions, suchas water temperature or turbidity, are favorable for recreationalactivities such as fishing, boating or swimming.

As the science advances, real-time measurements for relatively simpleparameters such as temperature, conductance, and turbidity can be usedto help predict more health-related conditions, such as if E. colilevels will exceed safety standards at beaches. For example, predictionsof E. coli are part of a system used by the City of Wichita to ensurepublic safety during the Annual Riverfest in May of each year(

Access additional USGS real-time water information sites by visiting WaterWatch for surface water information and Ground-Water Watch

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