Environmental Geology and Water Sciences

, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 17–22

A scientifically based nationwide assessment of groundwater quality in the United States

  • William M. Alley
  • Philip Cohen
Article

Abstract

Beginning in 1986, the U.S. Geological Survey began an effort to develop a National Water-Quality Assessment Program. The basic premise underlying this initiative is that a better understanding of the quality of water resources across the country, both surface- and groundwater, is needed to develop effective programs and policies to meet the nation's water-quality concerns. The program will focus on water-quality conditions that are prevalent or large in scale, such as occur from nonpoint sources of pollution or from a high density of point sources.

The design of the program is substantially different from the traditional approach of a diffuse national monitoring network.

The major activities of the assessment program will be clustered within a set of hydrologic systems (river basins and aquifer systems), referred to as study units. In aggregate, the study units will account for a large part of the nation's water use and represent a wide range of settings across the country.

Unique attributes of the program include: (1) the use of consistent study approaches, field and laboratory methods, water-quality measurements, and ancillary data measurements for all study units; (2) the development of a progressive understanding of water-quality conditions and trends in each study unit through long-term studies that rotate periods of intensive data collection and analysis with periods during which the assessment activities are less intensive; and (3) the focus of considerable effort on synthesizing results from among the study units to provide information on regional and national water-quality issues.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References Cited

  1. Hirsch, R. M., W. M. Alley, and W. G. Wilber, 1988, Concepts for a national water-quality assessment program: U.S. Geological Survey Circular 1021, 42 p.Google Scholar
  2. Seaber, P. R., F. P. Kapinos, and G. L. Knapp, 1986, Hydrologic unit maps: U.S. Geological Survey Water-Supply Paper 2294, 63 p.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • William M. Alley
    • 1
  • Philip Cohen
    • 1
  1. 1.U.S. Geological SurveyRestonUSA

Personalised recommendations