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California Water Science Center
A USGS research boat heads out into the Bay-Delta

About the USGS California Water Science Center


The U.S. Geological Survey, California Water Science Center provides reliable, impartial, foundational data and scientific analysis to address water issues facing California today. We conduct hydrologic monitoring and investigative studies in partnership with Federal, State, and local agencies to assist them in managing California's water resources.

Data Program

Hydrologic data collection, processing, analysis, dissemination, and archiving are essential to identifying and understanding water resources challenges, and developing sustainable future solutions. Streamflow data, for example, are used for flood and water-supply forecasts, planning and design, river regulation, streamflow statistics, and research investigations. Much of the data are available on a near-real-time basis by satellite telemetry. We operate approximately 500 streamgages and monitor nearly 3,000 groundwater wells.

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map of real-time streamflow conditions at USGS streamgage sites across California

California Water-Resources Research Projects

Our team of hydrologists, geologists, ecologists, biologists, chemists, modelers, geographers, data specialists, and technicians are conducting over 100 interdisciplinary studies addressing specific challenges presented by California's complex water landscape.

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A USGS hydrologist lowering an extensometer into a well to measure the rate of compaction.

Collaborate

Photo of a USGS California Water Science Center Hydrologist with a partner agency representative

Statewide, water managers from federal, state, and local agencies are using CAWSC science to approach planning their SGMA-compliant water management techniques. We form partnerships with these agencies, water districts, and other public organizations to find out what the historical and current state of California's water quality, availability, and usage is, and can help water managers understand the potential future effects of different planning scenarios.

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Science Highlights

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