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Federal News

National Water-Use at Lowest Levels since before 1970

USGS Newsroom - Wed, 11/05/2014 - 09:16
Summary: Water use across the country reached its lowest recorded level in nearly 45 years. According to a new USGS report, about 355 billion gallons of water per day (Bgal/d) were withdrawn for use in the entire United States during 2010.

Contact Information:

Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 );



Water use across the country reached its lowest recorded level in nearly 45 years. According to a new USGS report, about 355 billion gallons of water per day (Bgal/d) were withdrawn for use in the entire United States during 2010.

This represents a 13 percent reduction of water use from 2005 when about 410 Bgal/d were withdrawn and the lowest level since before 1970.

“Reaching this 45-year low shows the positive trends in conservation that stem from improvements in water-use technologies and management,” said Mike Connor, deputy secretary of the Interior.  “Even as the U.S. population continues to grow, people are learning to be more water conscious and do their part to help sustain the limited freshwater resources in the country.”


Total water withdrawals by State and barchart showing categories by State from west to east, 2010.(Larger image)

In 2010, more than 50 percent of the total withdrawals in the United States were accounted for by 12 states in order of withdrawal amounts: California, Texas, Idaho, Florida, Illinois, North Carolina, Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, New York, Alabama and Ohio.

California accounted for 11 percent of the total withdrawals for all categories and 10 percent of total freshwater withdrawals for all categories nationwide. Texas accounted for about 7 percent of total withdrawals for all categories, predominantly for thermoelectric power, irrigation and public supply.

Florida had the largest saline withdrawals, accounting for 18 percent of the total in the country, mostly saline surface-water withdrawals for thermoelectric power. Oklahoma and Texas accounted for about 70 percent of the total saline groundwater withdrawals in the United States, mostly for mining.

“Since 1950, the USGS has tracked the national water-use statistics,” said Suzette Kimball, acting USGS director. “By providing data down to the county level, we are able to ensure that water resource managers across the nation have the information necessary to make strong water-use and conservation decisions.”

Trends in total water withdrawals by water-use category, 1950–2010.(Larger image)

Water withdrawn for thermoelectric power was the largest use nationally, with the other leading uses being irrigation, public supply and self-supplied industrial water, respectively. Withdrawals declined in each of these categories. Collectively, all of these uses represented 94 percent of total withdrawals from 2005-2010.

  • Thermoelectric power declined 20 percent, the largest percent decline.
  • Irrigation withdrawals (all freshwater) declined 9 percent.
  • Public-supply withdrawals declined 5 percent.

Self-supplied industrial withdrawals declined 12 percent. 

A number of factors can be attributed to the 20 percent decline in thermoelectric-power withdrawals, including an increase in the number of power plants built or converted since the 1970’s that use more efficient cooling-system technologies, declines in withdrawals to protect aquatic habitat and environments, power plant closures and a decline in the use of coal to fuel power plants.

"Irrigation withdrawals in the United States continued to decline since 2005, and more croplands were reported as using higher-efficiency irrigation systems in 2010,” said Molly Maupin, USGS hydrologist. “Shifts toward more sprinkler and micro-irrigation systems nationally and declining withdrawals in the West have contributed to a drop in the national average application rate from 2.32 acre-feet per acre in 2005 to 2.07 acre-feet per acre in 2010."

For the first time, withdrawals for public water supply declined between 2005 and 2010, despite a 4 percent increase in the nation’s total population. The number of people served by public-supply systems continued to increase and the public-supply per capita use declined to 89 gallons per day in 2010 from 100 gallons per day in 2005.

Declines in industrial withdrawals can be attributed to factors such as greater efficiencies in industrial processes, more emphasis on water reuse and recycling, and the 2008 U.S. recession, resulting in lower industrial production in major water-using industries.

In a separate report, USGS estimated thermoelectric-power withdrawals and consumptive use for 2010, based on linked heat- and water-budget models that integrated power plant characteristics, cooling system types and data on heat flows into and out of 1,290 power plants in the United States. These data include the first national estimates of consumptive use for thermoelectric power since 1995, and the models offer a new approach for nationally consistent estimates.

In August, USGS released the 2010 water-use estimates for California in advance of the national report. The estimates showed that in 2010, Californians withdrew an estimated total of 38 Bgal/day, compared with 46 Bgal/day in 2005.  Surface water withdrawals in the state were down whereas groundwater withdrawals and freshwater withdrawals were up. Most freshwater withdrawals in California are for irrigation.

The USGS is the world’s largest provider of water data and the premier water research agency in the federal government. 

Disaster Recovery Partners in New Mexico use Social Media & Websites to Share Information

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 11/04/2014 - 13:55
SANTA FE – Getting information about ongoing disaster recovery operations in New Mexico is as simple as following state and federal emergency management agencies on Twitter and/or visiting their websites.

The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NM DHSEM) provides response, recovery, mitigation and preparedness information online at www.nmdhsem.org/. DHSEM is the state's homeland security and emergency management agency.

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Categories: Federal News

Disaster Recovery Partners in New Mexico use Social Media & Websites to Share Information

FEMA Press Releases - Tue, 11/04/2014 - 13:51
  SANTA FE - Getting information about ongoing disaster recovery operations in New Mexico is as simple as following state and federal emergency   management agencies on Twitter and/or visiting their websites.

The New Mexico Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (NM DHSEM) provides response, recovery, mitigation and preparedness information online at www.nmdhsem.org/. DHSEM is the state's homeland security and emergency management agency.

Language English
Categories: Federal News

Tracking the Nitrate Pulse to the Gulf of Mexico

USGS Newsroom Technical - Tue, 11/04/2014 - 11:36
Summary: A new USGS report describes how advanced optical sensor technology is being used in the Mississippi River basin to accurately track the nitrate pulse to the Gulf of Mexico.

Contact Information:

Ethan Alpern ( Phone: 703-648-4406 );



A new USGS report describes how advanced optical sensor technology is being used in the Mississippi River basin to accurately track the nitrate pulse to the Gulf of Mexico.

Excessive springtime nitrate runoff from agricultural land and other sources in the Mississippi drainage flows into the Mississippi River and downstream to the Gulf of Mexico. This excess nitrate contributes to the Gulf of Mexico hypoxic zone, an area with low oxygen known commonly as the "dead zone." NOAA-supported researchers reported that the summer 2014 dead zone covered about 5,052 square miles, an area the size of Connecticut.

The USGS is using the new sensor technology to collect nitrate concentration data every hour to improve the accuracy of nitrate load estimates to the Gulf of Mexico. The data can also be used to make it easier to detect changes in nitrate levels related to basin management and to track progress toward the goal of reducing the size of the dead zone.

“High frequency data from these sensors has revealed considerable variability in nitrate concentrations in small rivers and streams,” said Brian Pellerin, USGS researcher. “However, we were surprised to see nitrate concentrations vary by as much as 20 percent in a week in a river as large as the Mississippi River without similar changes in streamflows.”

These rapid changes are very easy to miss with traditional water-quality monitoring approaches. However, hourly information on nitrate levels improves the accuracy and reduces the uncertainty in estimating nitrate loads to the Gulf of Mexico, especially during drought and flood years.

This high frequency data also provides new insights into timing and magnitude of nitrate flushing from soils during wet and dry conditions. For instance, the high frequency data revealed high nitrate concentrations during the spring and early summer of both 2013 and 2014 following the drought of 2012.

Nitrate sensors on small streams and large rivers throughout the Mississippi River basin are improving our ability track where the pulses are coming from and forecast when they will arrive at the Gulf.

The USGS, in cooperation with numerous local, state, and other federal agencies, currently operates over 100 real-time nitrate sensors across the Nation. Real-time nitrate monitoring is supported by the USGS National Stream Quality Accounting NetworkCooperative Water Program, and the National Water-Quality Assessment Program.

The USGS also continuously monitors water levels and streamflows at thousands of the nation's streams on a real-time basis. These data are available at USGS Current Streamflow Conditions.

USGS and Canada Reach Confluence in Monitoring Streamflow

USGS Newsroom - Tue, 11/04/2014 - 07:56
Summary: In a joint effort, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) have produced the North America WaterWatch (NAWW), an online website that displays streamflow conditions throughout much of North America. 

Contact Information:

Robert Mason, USGS ( Phone: 703-648-5305 ); Lingling Liu, WSC ( Phone: 613- 790-5151 ); Jon Campbell, USGS ( Phone: 703-648-4180 );



In a joint effort, the U.S. Geological Survey and the Water Survey of Canada (WSC) have produced the North America WaterWatch (NAWW), an online website that displays streamflow conditions throughout much of North America. 

The site provides a fast, easy-to-use, cartographically-based, central web interface for users to access real-time streamflow conditions for both Canada and the United States. NAWW can be accessed online in both English and French 

"North America WaterWatch delivers easily understandable maps and graphics of streamflow conditions and, simultaneously, provides access to real-time and past streamflow data at thousands of streamgages in both nations,” said Jerad Bales, USGS Chief Scientist for Water. “The portal demonstrates the value of free exchange of water-data through interoperable web services, which is a major strategic focus of the USGS through open-water data activities."

The international collaboration was announced at the American Water Resources Association annual conference in Tysons Corner, Va. 

The NAWW site is arranged similarly to USGS Water Watch. Real-time instantaneous flow data are compared against historical daily streamflow percentiles at hydrometric monitoring stations. The stations are then color coded on the map to indicate current flow conditions in relation to normal conditions based on statistical thresholds (i.e. much below normal, below normal, normal, above normal, much above normal, and high). The timely availability of these streamflow indicators is vital to water managers and the general public, as the easily-recognized indicators constitute a direct link between hydrological field information and the assessment of risks. 

NAWW displays streamflow conditions in Canada for about 1000 real-time flow stations with more than 20 years of continuous streamflow records selected from three different data sources: the Water Survey of Canada (~ 850), Centre d'expertise hydrique du Québec (~ 100), and Alberta Environment (~ 60). Streamflow conditions in the United States are shown for roughly 8000 real-time flow stations. The data on the website are updated hourly; daily statistics are updated quarterly. 

The publishing of the NAWW website marks another milestone achieved through the cooperation between USGS and WSC.

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Hawaii Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 23:07

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Hawaii.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

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Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Hawaii

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 23:03

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Hawaii to supplement to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by the Pu’u ‘Ō’ō volcanic eruption and lava flow beginning on September 4, 2014, and continuing.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Offers Free Home Repair Advice

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 18:00

WARREN, Mich. – Residents who want to reduce the risk of property damage from storms, floods and other potential hazards have the opportunity to meet with hazard mitigation specialists from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Residents can get free publications to help them protect their properties against storms and flooding. Mitigation measures may help protect electrical systems, furnaces and other appliances. 

Mitigation specialists will be available in:

Language English
Categories: Federal News

THE WHAT AND HOW OF FEDERAL HELP FOR SOUTH NAPA EARTHQUAKE AFFECTED INDIVIDUALS, HOMEOWNERS

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 15:22

THE WHAT AND HOW OF FEDERAL HELP FOR SOUTH NAPA EARTHQUAKE AFFECTED INDIVIDUALS, HOMEOWNERS

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Individuals and homeowners who sustained damage in the South Napa Earthquake may now be eligible for certain kinds of federal assistance. Money is available to help eligible displaced individuals in Napa and Solano counties to repair essential living areas.

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Categories: Federal News

Napa, Solano County Residents to Receive Federal Individual, Household Aid Following South Napa Earthquake

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 15:10

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Today the California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services (Cal OES) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that the Major Disaster declaration for the South Napa earthquake will also include the Individuals and Households Program under the Stafford Act.

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Categories: Federal News

DEADLINES APPROACHING TO FILE REQUESTS FOR FEMA/CAL OES PUBLIC ASSISTANCE

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 15:05

OAKLAND – The Public Assistance application deadline for the Napa Earthquake, is Oct. 23, 2014, said California Governor’s Office of Emergency Services officials. California state and local agencies, tribal nations and certain private nonprofit agencies, that may be eligible for federal and state disaster assistance, must submit Request for Public Assistance (RPA) forms to Cal OES.

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Categories: Federal News

Wayne County Disaster Recovery Center in Taylor Transitions to SBA Loan Center

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 14:34

Warren, Mich. – The State/FEMA Disaster Recovery Center located at the Wayne County Community College, Performing Arts Center at 21000 Northline Road in Taylor will transition to a U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Loan Outreach Center (DLOC) and relocate to Dearborn on Thursday, Nov. 6.

A DLOC focuses on funds needed for long-term rebuilding and recovery. Homeowners, renters and businesses will be able to talk individually with SBA representatives. Specialists from FEMA will also be available.

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Categories: Federal News

AmeriCorps Helping Storm Survivors in Southeast Michigan

FEMA Press Releases - Mon, 11/03/2014 - 11:21

WARREN, Mich. – AmeriCorps, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, serves communities across America. When the call came to assist Michiganders affected by the August flooding, more than 30 AmeriCorps members were called into action. Members are in Michigan assisting homeowners with mucking out hundreds of homes damaged during the storm.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of Missouri Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 16:53

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the State of Missouri.

Assistance for the State and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

Language English
Categories: Federal News

President Declares Disaster for Missouri

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 16:49

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Missouri to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the area affected by severe storms, tornadoes, straight-line winds, and flooding during the period of September 9-10, 2014.

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Categories: Federal News

Nov. 5 & Nov. 23 Deadline for First Step to Receive Federal Aid after Summer Flooding in NM

FEMA Press Releases - Fri, 10/31/2014 - 15:18

SANTA FE – Getting disaster aid quickly into the hands of eligible applicants affected by July 27-August 5 flooding in New Mexico starts with the first stepinforming state and federal recovery officials that Public Assistance funding is needed.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Approves a Second Declaration for New Mexico. This Time for September Flooding

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 15:57

SANTA FE – Just weeks after receiving a federal declaration, and a subsequent amendment only days ago adding more counties for July 27-August 5 flooding, a second presidential declaration has been approved, this time providing federal assistance for flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Odile between September 15-26.

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Categories: Federal News

FEMA Approves a Second Declaration for New Mexico. This Time for September Flooding

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 15:52

SANTA FE – Just weeks after receiving a federal declaration, and a subsequent amendment only days ago adding more counties for July 27-August 5 flooding, a second presidential declaration has been approved, this time providing federal assistance for flooding caused by the remnants of Tropical Depression Odile between September 15-26.

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Categories: Federal News

Michigan Flood Survivors Can Get Free Legal Aid

FEMA Press Releases - Thu, 10/30/2014 - 10:46

WARREN, Mich. – Individuals who sustained damage from the August storms and flooding can call the Disaster Legal Services hotline at 844-451-0749 for free legal assistance and counseling.

Through the hotline, volunteer lawyers can help eligible survivors with legal issues related to the disaster. Volunteer lawyers can discuss insurance claims, landlord-tenant issues, consumer protection issues and the replacement of wills or other important documents that were lost or destroyed during the storm.

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Categories: Federal News

Federal Aid Programs for the State of New Mexico Declaration

FEMA Press Releases - Wed, 10/29/2014 - 15:35

Following is a summary of key federal disaster aid programs that can be made available as needed and warranted under President Obama's disaster declaration issued for the state of New Mexico.

Assistance for the State, Tribal and Affected Local Governments Can Include as Required:

Language English
Categories: Federal News