National Water Quality Assessment: Moving from Measurement to Understanding

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by Timothy L. Miller,
Ivan C. James, II,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Watershed Management and Operations Management 2000

Abstract: The USGS National Water Quality Assessment (NAWQA) program began in 1991. The objectives of the program were to characterize the quality of the Nations ground and surface water, assess trends in water quality, and provide this information, at an appropriate scale, to water resource managers, policy makers, and the public whose decisions impact water-quality conditions. The program is nearing the end of the first cycle of studies where the major objective was a status assessment of the quality of the Nations waters. Over 1000 reports have been produced from this first cycle. In addition, a Nationally-consistent data base has been developed which will allow for further analysis and as a reference for future comparisons. Synthesis of these data at a regional and National scale are ongoing. During this first cycle of studies, major advancements have been made in understanding the occurrence and distribution of nutrients, pesticides and volatile organic compounds.

Subject Headings: Quality control | Water resources | Federal government | Groundwater management | Groundwater quality | Surface water |

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